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Italy's Berlusconi: I'm "obliged" to stay in politics

The former Prime Minister was given a jail sentence but it's unlikely he will serve any time.

Berlusconi bribery trial 2012 02 25Enlarge
Berlusconi is also on trial on tax fraud charges, and is accused of hiring an underage prostitute and subsequently using his influence to secure her release from prison after she was arrested for theft. (ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP/Getty Images)

Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said Saturday that he felt "obliged" to stay in politics after courts sentenced him to four years in prison for tax fraud. 

“There will be consequences,” Berlusconi said in an interview for his Mediaset Spa (MS)’s Canale 5 when asked about the sentence, reports Bloomberg News.

“I feel obliged to remain in politics to reform the justice system, so that what happened to me will not happen to other citizens.”

Berlusconi was convicted inflating the price paid for TV rights via offshore companies and skimming off part of the money to create illegal slush funds, reports Reuters.

He dismissed the case as "science fiction" and went on another TV network that he owns on Friday to accuse the judges in liberal-leaning Milan of unfairly targeting him, reports the BBC

"It is a political, incredible and intolerable judgement," Berlusconi said on Italia 1.

A Milan judge originally sentenced him to four years but has since pardoned three of them.  It's unlikely 76-year-old Berlusconi will serve any time. 

The ruling came two days after Berlusconi said he would not seek the Prime Minister's post for the fourth time in next year's elections. 

The former prime minister is likely to be tied up in court for years. In addition to appealing his sentence for tax fraud, Berlusconi is also battling court charges that he slept with an underage prostitute and tried to cover it up, reports the BBC. 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/italy/121027/italys-berlusconi-im-obliged-stay-politics