Italy's president refuses to save Berlusconi from jail

Silvio Berlusconi's hopes of using his old connections in the corridors of power to secure a presidential favour have been scuppered. Credit: REUTERS/Tony Gentile

Italian President Giorgio Napolitano has refused to pardon Silvio Berlusconi after confirming that his jail sentence for tax fraud must be applied.

The 88-year-old president had been urged by Berlusconi supporters to intervene and annul the former prime minister's conviction.

Mr Napolitano said he had never received a request for a pardon from Mr Berlusconi and said it was vital that the issue should not spark a government crisis.