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ROME – Billionaire media mogul Silvio Berlusconi, who will on Tuesday learn his punishment for charges of tax evasion and false accounting, saw his income fall by more than 87 percent over a one-year period, it was reported Monday.
From a legal and political perspective, Berlusconi’s problems really started in 2011, when he was ousted as prime minister. After that, he faced charges for tax evasion and false accounting, wire taps, bribing a public official, abuse of power and paying an underage girl for sex.
Last year he was definitively convicted on the tax-evasion and false-accounting charges, resulting in his being stripped of his seat in Italy’s Senate, and on Tuesday he will discover if he must serve a year of house arrest or perform 12 months of community service.
Now it has been revealed that Berlusconi’s income also collapsed during the same period. In a rare insight into the billionaire’s finances, La Repubblica and other media reported his income plummeted from €35.4 million ($46.1 million) in 2011 to “only” €4.5 million ($6.3 million) a year later. The figures for 2012 are the most recent figures available.
The culprit? Mostly the dividend level and stock price for Mediaset, the television and cinema giant he controls. The shares reached an all-time low of €1.16 ($1.61) in late 2012 before rebounding last year. They started strong in 2014, reaching a nearly three-year high of €4.18 ($5.81) last month but have lost steam in recent weeks, closing trading Monday at €3.88 ($5.39).
Mediaset is one of Europe’s largest media conglomerates, with three national networks in Italy and one in Spain, the Medusa cinema production and distribution house and print media in several European countries.
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