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Italy's Parliament Starts Debate Over Whether to Kick Berlusconi Out of Senate

Silvio Berlusconi Shame - H 2013
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Silvio Berlusconi

The billionaire media mogul was convicted of false accounting and tax fraud five weeks ago.

MILAN – Italy’s parliament on Monday began debating the political fate of billionaire media tycoon Silvio Berlusconi.

In the wake of the decision from Italy’s Supreme Court last month to uphold a guilty verdict in a tax evasion and false accounting case connected with content acquisition fees for Mediaset, the cinema and television giant Berlusconi controls. The verdict carried with it a year of house arrest while the lower court "reconsiders" the political ban it gave the 76-year-old mogul.

In the meantime, however, Italy's parliament decided to take matters into its own hands and vote on whether or not to strip Berlusconi of his Senate seat. Debate on that process started Monday.

It is possible that Berlusconi’s forces could pull their support for the government coalition led by Premier Enrico Letta. If they do, the government would almost surely collapse.

Mediaset, the source of most of Berlusconi’s wealth, has mostly shrugged off the political turmoil. The company’s shares closed trading Monday at €3.20 ($4.22), up 4 percent on the day and well above their all-time low of €1.16 ($1.53) set in December.

Twitter: @EricJLyman