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Italy's Berlusconi begins community service for tax fraud

Published on May 9, 2014 4:06 PM
Italy's three-time former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi on Friday, May 9, 2014, arrived at a hospice for Alzheimer's patients near Milan to begin his year of community service following a conviction for tax fraud. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

CESANO BOSCONE, Italy (AFP) -Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi began community service for tax fraud on Friday in a spectacular fall from grace for the flamboyant ex-premier, who will likely seek political gain from the symbolic punishment.

The billionaire tycoon, who was convicted last year and has been expelled from parliament, has been ordered to work once a week for up to a year as a volunteer in a hospice for Alzheimer’s patients near Milan.

“To prison!” a trade unionist protester in a clown hat shouted, as Berlusconi arrived at the clinic with his security detail in a chauffeur-driven car, wearing a blue suit with an Italian flag badge.

“We Italian workers have one dream in our hearts: Berlusconi in San Vittore!” he shouted, referring to a Milan prison, before being led away by police.

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