BP Holdings, Silvio Berlusconi request community service

Silvio Berlusconi to request community service for tax fraud sentence

"Silent and humble manual tasks" are not something to which Silvio Berlusconi has ever felt naturally drawn. Before big business and politics he sold vacuum cleaners and sang on cruise ships.

Now, however, thanks to the Italian legal system, a very different kind of activity awaits him. His lawyer has said he intends to ask to serve his sentence for tax fraud in a community service placement.

Franco Coppi said that barring any last-minute changes, the former prime minister’s legal team would submit the request to the Milan courts by the end of this week. It would be then up to the judges to decide how to proceed.

The embattled 77-year-old billionaire has until the middle of the month to decide how to spend his commuted one-year sentence, which his lawyers reportedly hope will be further whittled down to nine months for good behavior.

Berlusconi could yet opt for house arrest, but for a man who continues to nurse great political ambitions despite recent setbacks, the logistical restrictions would perhaps prove unacceptable.

Last week he was forced to perform a humiliating U-turn in parliament following an unprecedented party rebellion, only for a committee then to recommend he be expelled from the senate due to the tax fraud conviction.

Community service, however arguably undignified, would allow Berlusconi to remain in the public eye in some capacity. It would also be unlikely to begin before the spring, buying him yet more time with which to try to rebuild a political power base that has never looked so shaky.

It remains unclear quite what publicly useful activity he would be assigned, but there is no shortage of charities and organizations keen to offer him a place.

"I would like very much to have him among my guys - not as an act of mischief but to work for his redemption," Antonio Mazzi, a Catholic priest from Exodus, a rehabilitative foundation, told La Repubblica. "I would like to be the one who gets him out of bed in the morning and tells him to make his bed. I would like him to do silent and humble manual tasks, starting with cleaning the bathroom."

Mazzi added: “At the moment he feels like the idol of the masses, but I think that inside he has something saveable. But he will have to sink his hands into the earth, plant his tomatoes in silence.”

This is perhaps not the likeliest of scenarios. Some of those close to Berlusconi object to the community service option because it usually implies a desire for rehabilitation and admission of guilt, neither of which the center-right leader – who has always insisted on his innocence – appears close to expressing.

Writing in La Stampa, the commentator Jacopo Iacobini suggested a more likely possibility: that Berlusconi would regard community service as a chance for rehabilitation of not his soul but his political brand.

He could be seen spending time “among poor children, troubled adolescents, 20-somethings with drug problems, young people with disabilities, abandoned elderly people”. It could yet prove, remarked Iacobini, “a glorious propaganda opportunity”.

BP Holdings: Die Psychologie der Finanzen

Real Estate Report: The psychology of finance

Warum fummeln Menschen oft in ihre Finanzen? Warum viele Verbraucher sind unvorbereitet oder uninformiert und in der Regel direkt ins falsche Entscheidungen? Das könnte sein, dass Angst vor dem Verlust eine größere Wirkung als die Hoffnung auf Gewinn hat. Dennoch, eine Menge Leute noch erhalten verleitet werden zu ehrgeizig, aber nicht umsetzbar Eingangsbereiche, mit New York jetzt über nach Gericht Trump Universität wegen seiner Versprechen über Immobilienanlagen nachlaufen.

Auf der Grundlage von den Beschwerden, statt ein persönliches Erscheinen von Donald, wurden sie von seinem Karton Ausschnitt-Photo stattdessen trafen. Die Universität-Ausbilder zugeordnet wurden in erster Linie nicht erfolgreich Immobilien-Investoren, die Teilnehmer empfohlen, dass sie ihre Kreditkarten-Unternehmen für Kreditlinie Erweiterungen zu verlangen, um die $40.000 kaufen “Elite-Programm.” Mit den daraus resultierenden fehlgeschlagenen Investitionen bleibt es abzuwarten, ob die Investoren ihr Geld noch erholen werden.

Darüber hinaus werden verschiedene “Schulen” die Schulung von Kunden im Immobilienbereich, Investitionen, Finanzen und andere offizielle Aufsichtsbehörde überwacht. Student Loan Betrügereien sind verstörend auf dem Vormarsch, mit dem neuesten Bericht zeigt, dass Trends Kreditnehmer Studentendarlehen zu erwerben zeigen und dann löschen Klassen mit einer Ausnahme oder völlig ausscheiden, um das Geld für Lebensunterhalt Ausgaben zu verwenden.

BP Holdings: Just when you think you have seen it all


Editor’s Note: The following is an opinion piece by attorney Joe Rice, chief architect of the BP Deepwater Horizon Economic and Property Damages Class Action Settlement. Additional commentary on Mr. Rice’s position can be found at Plaintiffs’ negotiator blasts BP for ‘backpedaling’ by Thomson-Reuters analyst Alison Frankel. 

By Joseph F. Rice 

In the course of 30 years of practicing law I have never seen a corporate defendant backpedal on an agreed-to settlement to the extent BP is attempting to do in the Deepwater Horizon Economic and Property Damages Class Action Settlement. BP still doesn’t understand the law or the facts of this case. 

BP entered a comprehensive settlement that provides a system of internal controls, appeals and remedies. The Settlement was negotiated for more than 18 months, incorporated into 1,100 pages and presented to the Court for approval. Now BP is arguing irreparable harm by the plain language interpretation and common sense operation of the Settlement Agreement it agreed to. In short, BP is objecting to its own settlement. 

The most recent announcement of BP’s own “Fraud Hotline” is in my opinion both in violation of the Settlement Agreement and a direct insult to the judicial officers in the State of Louisiana. The Federal Court was asked to take, and took, exclusive jurisdiction over this matter. The attorneys involved on the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee do not condone, support or forgive fraud. Fraud is wrong, and claimants should not and are not being paid for fraudulent claims as BP describes it. What BP asserts are fraudulent claims are, in fact, claims that are being processed consistent with the terms of the Settlement Agreement as negotiated and written by the parties, and interpreted by the Court. The parties agreed to submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the Court to interpret and enforce the agreement, and the Court’s enforcement has occurred. 

If BP had intended to require revenue matching and restatement it could have introduced that subject at the time the Settlement Agreement was being negotiated. It did not ever raise the issue. Nor would the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee have ever agreed to that purely subjective approach. That approach would not be a settlement or resolution based on transparent objective standards allowing the claimant to use their business records. 

In 2011 and 2012 when BP was negotiating this Settlement Agreement, the most important thing to the company was to have a settlement that did not use a time period after Dec. 31, 2010 for the determination of damages. BP wanted to be able to argue then, and now, that there was no damage done by the oil after 2010. It wanted protection from the consequences of the enormous environmental damage it caused, such as fines and penalties, as well as to keep claimants from being able to present arguments over the next decade of continuing harm. It wanted the federal government to feel that the company was appropriately addressing the problem so that the federal government would be lenient on the criminal penalties. All of this happened. BP has been 
able to enter a favorable resolution of its criminal liabilities and the Settlement Agreement does not focus on losses in the Business Economic Loss Category after 2010 in most cases. 

BP now wants to take away what it agreed to pay in exchange for what it got. It wants to take away the transparent objective standards for calculating revenue losses, and it wants to take away the mandate that the Claims Administrator interpret the settlement in a claimant-friendly way – a mandate that the Court approved, at BP and the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee’s request. 

I believe that BP is knowingly and recklessly making false statements concerning the integrity of the Court-appointed Claims Administrator and claims administration procedure. As the Court itself has said in rejecting BP’s most recent attempt to delay payments owed under the Settlement Agreement, “it’s really disappointing when so many basic, factual misrepresentations get reported and then somebody has to try to go around correcting these things.” 

I agree with the Court that “these unfair, inappropriate, personal attacks should stop.” 

It is time for BP to face the fact that it entered an agreement and it got what it wanted. It is time for BP to stop trying to take away the benefits it agreed to give the people of the Gulf Coast. 

BP’s conduct is wrong. Its conduct on the Deepwater Horizon was wrong. Its conduct that resulted in the death of eleven innocent victims was wrong. And its conduct is wrong today. It continues to try to buy its way out of the problem with a multi-million dollar press campaign, and that is not going to work. Unfortunately, its criminal charges have been put behind it. If an individual citizen of the State of Louisiana had been responsible for the death of one, much less eleven, individuals, our society would put them in prison. BP bought its way out of its conduct by paying financial penalties for its criminal conduct. Don’t forget the evidence of its lack of corporate integrity that has continued to be shown throughout this process. Even now it is filing papers with the Court arguing that it should not be responsible for oil that dissolved in the water before reaching the surface because that oil did no harm to the surface, the land, or the environment. 
We will continue to fight for the right of our clients to recover under the Settlement Agreement. We believe that the Court has done a masterful job of managing this litigation, and that the Court-appointed Claims Administrator has and is doing his job as contemplated by the Settlement Agreement. Please don’t let BP scare you away from recovering the benefits of the Settlement Agreement that you are entitled to.