Italian former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi (R) arrives at the Catholic hospice in Cesano Boscone to begin community service for tax fraud on May 9, 2014. AFP PHOTO / OLIVIER MORIN
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Italy's Silvio Berlusconi began community service for tax fraud on Friday in a spectacular fall from grace for the flamboyant ex-premier, who will likely seek political gain from the symbolic punishment."To prison!" a trade unionist protester in a clown hat shouted, as Berlusconi arrived at the clinic with his security detail in a chauffeur-driven car, wearing a blue suit with an Italian flag badge.The disgraced politico has dominated Italian politics for two decades and is leading a campaign for European Parliament elections despite being barred from running and his party is expected to get 20 percent of the vote.Emilio Fede, a former television anchor who has been convicted of procuring prostitutes for Berlusconi, has said his friend is unperturbed by the community service.Berlusconi was sentenced to a year in prison, but a judge ruled he did not actually have to go to jail thanks to lenient sentencing guidelines in Italy for over-70s found guilty of non-violent crimes.Berlusconi, who has continually protested his innocence, has said he was happy with the community service.
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