Former Italian Prime Minister charged with tax fraud

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Former Italian Prime Minister Silvo Berlusconi was sentenced to four years in prison for tax fraud Friday.

In addition to serving prison time, Berlusconi and others convicted in the case must deposit over $10 million into fund appeals ordered by the court, according to NBC news.

Berlusconi called the process and "unacceptable political sentence" and is likely to appeal, reports CNN news.

"I'm a victim of judicial harassment," Berlusconi said. "This is a conviction I can easily define as political, incredible and even intolerable."

Berlusconi announced Wednesday that he would not be leading his center-right political party in Italy's next election, reports the New York Times.

Berlusconi was allegedly involved in a scheme that purchased the rights to American films for Berlusconi's private television networks and falsely declared payments to evade taxes, reports NBC news.

One of the former prime minister's lawyers said Berlusconi would appeal the ruling, reports the New York Times. He added that it would be unlikely Berlusconi would even serve jail time because he has immunity as long as he is in Parliament.

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