Silvio Berlusconi, the disgraced former prime minister of Italy and billionaire media baron, has been sentenced to seven years in jail for having sex with an underaged prostitute. The woman, Karima 'Ruby' el-Mahroug, was paid to have sex at Berlusconi's infamous "Bunga Bunga" parties, and at one point, he lied to Italian police about her to keep her from going to jail for theft -- Berlusconi told the cops she was Hosni Mubarak's niece and that arresting her would cause an international diplomatic incident. Berlusconi sounds like he plans on appealing:

After the verdict, Berlusconi said in a message posted on Facebook that he believed he would be acquitted "because in the facts there is really no possibility to convict me."

He called the sentence "incredible, of a violence never seen or heard before, to try to eliminate me from the political life of this country." He pledged to "resist this persecution, because I am absolutely innocent, and I don't want in any way to abandon my battle to make Italy a truly free and just country."

Elected officials from Beppo Grillo's Five Star movement are insisting that the Italian state must do everything in its power to put Berlusconi behind bars.

'Bunga bunga' busted: Berlusconi convicted of hiring underage girl for sex [Colleen Barry/Associated Press]

(Image: Berlusconi, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from spiritolibero85's photostream)