Variety: Harmony Gold Founder/Robotech Producer to Serve No Jail Time

posted on by Lynzee Loveridge
2006 Italian amnesty law keeps those convicted out of jail if sentence is 3 years or less

The entertainment trade magazine Variety reported on Sunday that Frank Agrama, the founder of Harmony Gold USA and an executive producer of the Robotech dubbed anime projects, will serve no time in an Italian prison despite being sentenced to three years on Friday. An amnesty law passed in 2006 keeps convicted individuals out of prison if their sentence is for three years or less. Italy passed the law to combat overcrowding in Italian prisons.

Agrama was found guilty of tax fraud alongside former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. Berlusconi was sentenced to four years in prison, but the same amnesty law will reduce his sentence to one year.

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.

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.

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.

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