Berlusconi vows to stay in politics even if banned

Italy's former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi Credit: PA Wire

Silvio Berlusconi has vowed to stay at the heart of Italian politics even if he is expelled from government over a fraud conviction.

In a long-awaited television address ahead of Senate announcement on his future in Italy's parliament, the former prime minister said:

"I will always be with you, at your side, expelled from parliament or not. It is not the parliamentary seat that makes a leader."

The 76-year-old billionaire insisted he was "absolutely innocent" of tax fraud, before accusing judges of plotting against him to pervert democracy.

Read: Silvio Berlusconi's famous gaffes and controversies

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Berlusconi loses ban vote

The political career of former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi appears to be over. The 76-year-old lost the vote in the Senate that would have overturned his ban from parliament for his tax fraud conviction.