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Silvio Berlusconi underage prostitute conviction overturned

The former Italian PM has been acquitted of charges of paying for sex with an underage prostitute and of abuse of power.

Image: AP/Press Association Images

Updated at 12.56pm

FORMER ITALIAN PREMIER Silvio Berlusconi has won his appeal against his conviction for paying for sex with an underage prostitute.

An appeal court also cleared him of charges of abuse of power.

“The defendant is acquitted,” presiding judge Enrico Tranfa said, rejecting a request from prosecutors to confirm a seven-year sentence against the billionaire tycoon.

The court’s decision throws out that sentence and a lifetime ban on holding political office given to him by a lower court when it convicted him last year.

That court found that he had paid for sex with a 17-year-old nightclub dancer, Karima El-Mahroug — also known as ‘Ruby Heartstealer’, and used his influence to cover it up. He denied the charges.

If the court had confirmed the sentence, Berlusconi would have had one more recourse, failing which he would have had to serve the time.

The ruling had been suspended pending his appeals.

Source: AP/Press Association Images

Karima el-Mahroug – File photo

String of cases

It’s the latest in a string of legal cases involving the politician, many of which date back to the 1980s.

His first ever definitive conviction came last August, when Italy’s supreme court upheld Berlusconi’s conviction for tax fraud linked to his business empire Mediaset.

That ruling led to the former Premier being expelled from parliament and having to do a year of community service in a centre for Alzheimer’s patients near his home in Milan.

He began his once-a-week community service in May, has been expelled from parliament after a 20-year stint and is banned from running in an election for five years.

Includes reporting from AFP & AP.

Read: Berlusconi’s ‘bunga bunga’ trial appeal begins, but he can’t go as he’s working in a hospice

Read: Silvio Berlusconi expelled from Italian Parliament but vows to “fight on”

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