Rome: Former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi has been found guilty of bribing a senator in 2006 in an attempt to bring down the then centre-left government, media reported on Thursday.
A court in Naples sentenced Berlusconi, 78, to three years in prison and banned him from holding public office for five years, Xinhua news agency reported.
According to a report by Italian daily "Corriere della Sera", Berlusconi described the verdict as "absurd" and the consequence of a "judicial persecution" aimed at damaging his "image of the protagonist of politics".
According to the court, Berlusconi paid a former senator around 3 million euros ($3.3 million) for changing his political stand.
Berlusconi`s lawyer Niccolo Ghedini said the verdict was "clamorously unfair and unjustified", wishing the appeals court upturn the sentence.
Italy`s judicial system offers defendants three levels of trial before a conviction becomes definitive, and both sides of law cases have the right to appeal to higher courts.
Earlier this year, he completed a community service order for corporate tax fraud but was cleared of having sex with an under-age dancer after judges ruled he could not have known she was a minor.
Berlusconi served three times as Italy`s prime minister, from 1994 to 1995, 2001 to 2006 and 2008 to 2011. He also owns the Italian football club, AC Milan.