Berlusconi's girlfriend appeals to Pope Francis

Silvio Berlusconi

Silvio Berlusconi's fiancee has appealed to the Pope to seek a pardon over his conviction for tax dodging.

The Times/Australian

Francesca Pascale, 28, sought help from a higher power after the former Italian leader was convicted by Italy's top court and then expelled by parliament on Wednesday. He undertakes community service next year.

The Vatican maintained an embarrassed silence as the former TV showgirl, who is almost half a century younger than her 77-year-old betrothed, said she wanted an audience with the Pontiff.

"I'm launching an appeal to Pope Francis; an appeal that he receives me and hears Berlusconi's story," she said. Berlusconi declared a "day of mourning" when he was thrown out of parliament. Afterwards, he and his fiancee retreated with their white poodle, Dudu, to his villa outside Milan, where he was consoled by his children.

"He is not depressed. He's furious. He has the rage of someone who has suffered an injustice," Ms Pascale said. "For me, it's a day of unspeakable bitterness. He always hides his personal tragedy with self-irony, but I can't manage to do so."

Ms Pascale said she and Berlusconi's children wanted to make a formal request for a pardon to President Giorgio Napolitano, but Berlusconi would not let them.

FULL STORY Silvio Berlusconi's girlfriend appeals to Pope Francis

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