AC Milan president Silvio Berlusconi has been sentenced to seven years in prison after being found guilty of charges of corruption and soliciting an underage prostitute.
The 76-year-old was accused of paying for sex with Moroccan girl Karima El Mahroug in 2010, when she was 17, as well as abusing his position in public office for attempting to force her release from police custody over a charge of petty theft.
Although prosecutors sought a six-year custodial sentence for the former Italian Premier, a court in Milan issued a seven-year punishment following the guilty verdict in addition to a lifetime ban from politics, pending any appeal from Berlusconi's solicitors.
However, it could be months or even years before he serves any punishment, with Berlusconi entitled to appeal the verdict twice before it becomes final.
Berlusconi is already embroiled in several legal battles in the Italian courts. In October 2012, he was issued a four-year prison sentence for tax fraud, which has been upheld following a first appeal.
He released a statement on Monday saying: "I was truly convinced I would be absolved because there was absolutely no possibility of being found guilty based on the evidence."
Berlusconi's lawyer Niccolo Ghedini revealed they would launch an appeal, describing the sentence as "beyond reality" and "completely illogical".
He added: "The judges even went beyond the prosecutors' request [for a six-year sentence]."