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Italy's Berlusconi Given 4-Year Sentence For Tax Evasion; May Never Serve it

Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. Christophe Simon /AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Christophe Simon /AFP/Getty Images

Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

Christophe Simon /AFP/Getty Images

A court in Milan has convicted former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi on a charge of tax evasion and he's been given a 4-year prison sentence, The Associated Press and Reuters report.

But whether he will ever actually go to jail on the charge isn't yet known.

In a preview of today's news, the AP wrote that "the statute of limitations in this case is set to expire sometime next year. In Italy, cases must pass two levels of appeal before the verdicts are final." So Berlusconi might stretch things beyond the statute of limitations.

As the AP reminds us, the 76-year-old Berlusconi "also is on trial in Milan on charges of paying for sex with an under-age teenager and trying to cover it up."

Berlusconi, who has always said he's innocent of any wrongdoing, announced earlier this week that he won't try to return to office.