Italy court upholds ruling clearing Berlusconi

Reuters News
Posted: May 19, 2012 5:52 AM
Italy court upholds ruling clearing Berlusconi

ROME (Reuters) - Italy's highest appeals court on Friday upheld a decision that cleared former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi in a fraud and embezzlement case related to his private broadcaster Mediaset.

Milan magistrates who wanted Berlusconi to be indicted lodged an appeal after a judge ruled last October that there was not enough evidence for a trial for the former prime minister.

That judge did, however, order Berlusconi's son Pier Silvio and Fedele Confalonieri, respectively the deputy chairman and chairman of Mediaset, to stand trial in the same case, which has been dubbed the "Mediatrade" case.

Berlusconi still faces two separate corruption and tax fraud court cases linked to his business empire, and a third trial where he is accused of paying for sex with an underage prostitute and abusing his power to cover it up.

The 75-year-old billionaire media tycoon denies all charges and accuses Milan prosecutors of waging a politically-motivated campaign to oust him from power.

The Mediatrade case centres on accusations Mediaset acquired television rights at inflated prices in deals prosecutors allege resulted in embezzlement of 35 million euros ($48 billion) and an 8 million euro tax fraud.

(Reporting By Philip Pullella)