Berlusconi appears in court for fraud, embezzlement case

March 28th, 2011 - 6:33 pm ICT by IANS  

Rome, March 28 (IANS/AKI) Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi Monday appeared in a Milan court where he is standing trial for alleged tax fraud and embezzlement linked to the acquisition of television right for inflated prices by his Mediatrade company.

Earlier Monday, the billionaire media tycoon denied wrongdoing during a show broadcast by one of his Mediaset television channels.

“All accusations against me are ridiculous and groundless,” Berlusconi said during MattinoCinque. “I’ve never dealt with the acquisition of TV rights.”

The hearing Monday will determine whether Berlusconi should stand trial.

The case stems from the purchase of 470 million euros of television rights in the US during the 1990s.

His son Pier Silvo and others are also accused.

Berlusconi, 74, is already a defendant in two ongoing trials and is also set to stand trial starting April 6 on charges of having sex with an underage prostitute and then using his position to try and cover up the alleged crime.

Berlusconi denies wrongdoing in all cases and often says he is the victim of political persecution by left-wing judges.

“This trial, too, is a ploy by the Left to try to get rid of its biggest obstacle. These accusations are unfounded and ridiculous,” Berlusconi said on MattinoCinque.

Berlusconi has said he will attend court hearings because they will give him an opportunity to defend himself in front of Italians.

–IANS/AKI
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