Senate to decide Berlusconi’s fate

A cross-party panel of the Italian Senate has gathered to decide whether to expel Silvio Berlusconi over his conviction for tax fraud.

The disgraced former prime minister, who dominated the country’s politics for nearly two decades, is expected to lose his seat in the Senate.

He threatened to topple the coalition government over the issue but backed down a confidence vote.

If the panel votes against him, a final vote will be held in the Senate itself.

The media tycoon was convicted of tax fraud in October 2012 over deals his firm Mediaset made to purchase TV rights to US films. The sentence was upheld in August.

Representatives of both Prime Minister Enrico Letta’s centre-left Democratic Party and Berlusconi’s People of Freedom party sit on the Senate’s committee on elections and parliamentary immunity.