Skip to main content

Italy's former PM Silvio Berlusconi starts community service at senior center

By Livia Borghese, CNN
updated 6:09 AM EDT, Fri May 9, 2014
Silvio Berlusconi arrives at Fondazione Sacra Famiglia in Cesano Boscone on May 9, 2014 in Milan, Italy.
Silvio Berlusconi arrives at Fondazione Sacra Famiglia in Cesano Boscone on May 9, 2014 in Milan, Italy.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Silvio Berlusconi is carrying out community service at a center for the elderly for a year
  • The 77-year-old tycoon is expected to work with 20 elderly residents with Alzheimer's
  • The former Prime Minister was convicted last year of tax fraud

Rome (CNN) -- Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi began a year of community service for his conviction on tax fraud charges on Friday when he showed up at a senior center near his hometown, Milan.

The 77-year old billionaire tycoon must visit the center for the elderly at least once a week for a minimum four hours. The community service order is in lieu of house arrest.

The former premier is expected to work with 20 residents with Alzheimer's disease in the home, run by the Sacred Family Foundation, Fondazione Sacra Famiglia, in Cesano Boscone outside Milan.

Upon Berlusconi's arrival at the center, a member of a health care workers' trade union, Pippo Fiorito, staged a small protest against his presence.

For Berlusconi and Putin, a bromance

"His place is in a jail, not here," Fiorito said.

Berlusconi gave no comment as he entered the building. His security guards were left outside.

The center's director has barred all staff and residents from taking or distributing photos or video of Berlusconi inside the building, in accordance with its privacy rules.

Berlusconi, who served on and off as prime minister between 1994 and 2011, has dominated the lively Italian political scene for the past two decades.

He was handed a four-year sentence last August -- commuted to a year -- for tax fraud at Mediaset, the large commercial broadcaster that Berlusconi founded. He has also been barred from holding public office for two years and was expelled from the Italian Senate in the fall.

Last month, a Milan court ruled that Berlusconi could be assigned to social work at the elderly center as an alternative to house arrest. He also faces restrictions on his movements within Italy.

Berlusconi continues to protest his innocence and says he has been persecuted by leftist magistrates.

CNN's Marie-Louise Gumuchian contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 9:02 PM EDT, Mon October 20, 2014
A 15-year-old pregnant girl is rescued from slavery, only to be charged with having sex outside of marriage, shocked rights activists say -- a charge potentially punishable by death.
updated 12:07 PM EDT, Mon October 20, 2014
Airports judged on comfort, conveniences, cleanliness and customer service.
updated 9:19 AM EDT, Mon October 20, 2014
With so many new attractions on the way, the next few years are going to be a roller coaster ride.
updated 12:29 AM EDT, Thu October 16, 2014
Thomas Malthus famously predicted that rising populations would create a food crunch: Could this be true?
updated 3:21 PM EDT, Mon October 20, 2014
The lives of everyone close to Oscar Pistorius and the girl he killed are changed forever, his siblings say.
updated 6:33 AM EDT, Sat October 18, 2014
From "Sick Man of Europe" to the world's fourth largest economy.
updated 8:18 AM EDT, Mon October 20, 2014
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
updated 7:27 PM EDT, Wed October 15, 2014
Serbia and Albania try to play but the major game is called off after a drone flying a political flag enters the stadium.
updated 7:36 AM EDT, Tue October 14, 2014
George Clooney's new wife, is now Amal Clooney, raising the issue of married names.
updated 1:57 PM EDT, Tue October 14, 2014
The mysterious unmanned X-37B space plane returns to Earth after more than two years in space. But the U.S. Air force isn't saying much.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT