Europe

Silvio Berlusconi bribery trial: Ex-Italy PM convicted

File picture (2013) of Silvio Berlusconi Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Silvio Berlusconi lost his parliamentary immunity last year when he was expelled from the Senate over a tax fraud conviction

Former Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi has been found guilty of bribing a senator in 2006 in an attempt to bring down the then centre-left government.

A Naples court sentenced Berlusconi to three years in jail and banned him from holding public office for five years.

The four-times prime minister denied the charges.

He will not have to serve his sentence because a statute of limitations comes into effect later this year, before any appeal can be held.

The billionaire was accused of giving 3m euros (£2.5m; $4m) in 2006 to Sergio De Gregorio, then a senator from the anti-corruption Italy of Values party, to switch to Berlusconi's People of Freedom party and thus undermine the government of the time.

The trial was held in Naples as it was the seat occupied by Mr De Gregorio.

Italy's former prime minister is appealing against a prison sentence for having sex with an under-age prostitute and abuse of office, and another for leaking a confidential police wiretap.

He was also found guilty of tax fraud last year - his first definitive conviction.