Berlusconi implies dire consequences of his tax fraud conviction

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 Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has tacitly warned that his tax fraud conviction could cause the government to collapse, saying his opponents would be responsible if it occurs.

“They will say it is my fault if ministers from the (centre-right People of Freedom Party) PDL are weighing their resignations,” Berlusconi said on Thursday.

“But I ask myself, if two friends are in a boat and one of them throws the other into the sea, whose fault is it if the boat then drifts off course?” he added.

There have been reports in Italian newspapers that Berlusconi would bring down the government in October if he is expelled from the Senate.

Last week, Francesco Nitto Palma, a senior member of PDL, said that Berlusconi, banned from holding public office for complicity in tax fraud, would remain a political leader.

Palma said that “I don’t believe being in or out of parliament can keep Berlusconi from exercising leadership.”

The ban from holding office was issued earlier this month by Rome’s Court of Cassation with regard to Berlusconi’s tax fraud case relating to the purchase of broadcasting rights by his television network Mediaset.

The Italian Senate is set to decide in September on whether to uphold the ban for the ex-premier.

The Italian tycoon has faced many legal cases in his two decades in politics. Most of the time, he has either been acquitted or the charges have been dismissed when statues of limitations expired.

Previous charges against Berlusconi included Mafia collusion, false accounting,inappropriate relations with an under-age girl,corruption and bribing police officers, and judges.

Berlusconi, who served as the country’s prime minister from 1994 to 2011, resigned last November after coming under immense pressure to step down for mishandling the Italian economy.

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