Italian prime minister cleared in tax evasion case

October 18th, 2011 - 7:16 pm ICT by IANS  

Milan, Oct 18 (IANS/AKI) Italy’s billionaire Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi will not stand trial for fraud and tax evasion in a case involving a unit of his Mediaset television empire, said a judge here Tuesday.

Judge Maria Vicidomini cleared Berlusconi, 75 , because he “did nothing wrong”.

In the case, Mediaset is accused of fraud and tax evasion in the purchase of TV rights in the US.

Prosecutors claimed Berlusconi and his associates were able to skim off millions of euros which then went into a secret political slush fund.

The prime minister, earlier this year, had described the charges against him as “pure invention”.

“Berlusconi had nothing to do with it,” Berlusconi’s lawyer Niccolo Ghedini told reporters outside the courthouse.

The court, however, didn’t spare Berlusconi’s son Pier Silvio or Fedele Confalonieri, respectively executive vice-chairman and chairman of Mediaset, Berlsuconi’s Milan-based broadcasting company. It indicted both along with nine others and set trial for Dec 22.

Berlusconi is on trial in Milan in other cases that involve corruption and paying a minor for sex.

Berlusconi, a conservative, says he has broken no laws and accuses Italian “left-wing” prosecutors of political persecution.

–IANS/AKI
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