I won't flee Italy if I'm convicted – Berlusconi
FORMER Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi said he would not flee Italy and would go to jail rather than face house arrest or community service if a court upholds his conviction for tax fraud next week.
Italy's highest appeals court will, tomorrow, hear Mr Berlusconi's final appeal against a four-year prison sentence and a ban from public office for tax fraud over the purchase of broadcasting rights by his TV network Mediaset.
He told 'Libero', a newspaper which supports him, that he would not become a fugitive like the late Bettino Craxi, a former prime minister who fled to Tunisia to escape a jail sentence for corruption.
"I will not go into exile, like Bettino Craxi was forced to. I will also not accept being handed over to social services, like a criminal that has to be re-educated," he said in comments published yesterday.
If the Court of Cassation rejects Mr Berlusconi's appeal, he could serve only one year of his sentence due to a 2006 amnesty law and, at the age of 76, he would likely be granted house arrest, but he challenged judges to put him behind bars.
"If they convict me – if they assume that responsibility – then I'll go to jail," he said.