An appeals court has sentenced Mediaset Chief Executive Pier Silvio Berlusconi to 14 months in prison over alleged tax evasion at the Italian group’s broadcast rights arm Mediatrade, overturning a previous acquittal.
The court also handed down the same jail sentence to Mediaset Chairman Fedele Confalonieri, finding both him and Berlusconi guilty for one of three tax years considered for the case. An acquittal was confirmed for the other six people indicted in the trial, including Los Angeles-based producer Frank Agrama.
Mediaset said it was “astonished” by the decision since the first ruling in 2014 had been reached after “a long and in-depth debate” which lasted more than three years. Prosecutors accuse Mediatrade of having acquired film and television rights at inflated prices to pay lower taxes and then recouping some of the funds through foreign bank accounts.