Berlusconi denied passport, stranded in Italy
MILAN (REUTERS) - Silvio Berlusconi has lost a legal bid to reclaim his passport, judicial sources told Reuters on Wednesday, leaving the scandal-hit former prime minister stranded in Italy while fellow conservatives travel to a conference near Brussels.
Berlusconi's passport was confiscated when he was convicted of tax fraud in August and sentenced to four years in prison, commuted to a year under house arrest or in community service.
He has repeatedly denied suggestions he might flee abroad, a move that would follow in the footsteps of another ex-prime minister, Bettino Craxi, who spent the last years of his life in the 1990s in Tunisia after a corruption conviction.
The court on Monday dismissed the argument of Berlusconi's lawyers that stopping him going to the meeting flouted Europe's Schengen accord on the free movement of citizens, the sources said.