Reuters / Giampiero Sposito
Former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.
MILAN, Italy - A court convicted former Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi Monday of paying for sex with an under-age prostitute during infamous "bunga bunga" parties at his villa and then using his influence to try to cover it up.
Berlusconi, 76, was sentenced to seven years in prison and barred from public office for life – although with two more levels of appeal before the sentence can become final, he is unlikely to serve a sentence anytime soon.
The ban on holding office could, however, mean the end of Berlusconi's two-decade political career.
Berlusconi holds no official post in the current Italian government, but remains influential in the uneasy cross-party coalition that emerged after inconclusive February elections.
Both he and the Moroccan woman at the center of the scandal have denied ever having sex.
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Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has been sentenced to a seven year jail sentence for abuse of office and paying for sex with a minor. Berlusconi does not have to serve any jail time before he has exhausted an appeals process -- that could take years. ITV's James Mates reports.
This story was originally published on Mon Jun 24, 2013 6:23 PM EDT