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Harmony Gold Founder/Robotech Producer Sentenced for Tax Fraud

posted on 2012-10-26 13:20 EDT
Frank Agrama, former Prime Minister Berlusconi, others still have 2 appeals available in Italy

Frank Agrama, the founder of Harmony Gold USA and an executive producer of the Robotech dubbed anime projects, was sentenced to three years in prison by a Milan court for tax fraud on Friday alongside four other individuals, including former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. Berlusconi was sentenced to four years.

Berlusconi, Agrama, and the other defendants have also been ordered to pay 10 million euros (about US$12.9 million) in damages. A total of 11 people were on trial, but three others were found not guilty. Four others were cleared due to the statute of limitations running out.

Berlusconi is expected to appeal the decision, and he has two levels of appeal available. The appeals could take several years to conclude, and the Italian statute of limitations in the case is set to expire for Berlusconi next year.

The case, which began in 2006, revolved around numerous non-Robotech-related Paramount properties that Agrama resold to Berlusconi's media company Fininvest. Agrama acted as a middleman, reselling Paramount properties to Berlusconi's companies for broadcast in Italy. The prosecution had argued that Fininvest overpaid Agrama for the rights to those properties, making it appear that Finvest was less profitable, while extra funds were transferred to an offshore slush fund account owned by Berlusconi.

Agrama is an executive producer of Robotech and almost all its sequel attempts, and he remains the chairman and CEO of Harmony Gold USA. Harmony Gold USA also credits Agrama as one of two screenplay writers of the Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles sequel.

Sources: BBC News, The Financial Times, Deadline


This article has a follow-up: Variety: Harmony Gold Founder/Robotech Producer to Serve No Jail Time (2012-10-28 18:30)

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