Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

IN THE PAPERS

Coverage of the Plane Crash that took 116 lives - almost half of them French

Read more

DEBATE

Gaza: A Truce At All Costs?

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Central African Republic: Brazzaville ceasefire talks deliver fragile deal

Read more

FOCUS

Sluggish tourist season in Crimea

Read more

ENCORE!

Bartabas : Mixing Christ with Spanish music and dancing horses

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Shifts in the propaganda war waged between Israelis and Palestinians

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

French MPs face quandary in pro-Palestinian rallies

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Yezid Sayigh, Senior Associate at the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut

Read more

#TECH 24

Mind the Gender Gap : getting more women into the tech sector

Read more

  • Live: ‘No survivors’ from Algerian plane crash, says Hollande

    Read more

  • Protest against Gaza offensive turns deadly in West Bank

    Read more

  • Wreckage of Algeria plane found in Mali

    Read more

  • Deadly strike on UN shelter in Gaza Strip

    Read more

  • BNP to pay $80 million for defrauding Dept of Agriculture

    Read more

  • Pope meets Christian woman sentenced to death in Sudan

    Read more

  • Air Algérie crash: 'We should eliminate the missile hypothesis'

    Read more

  • Italy’s Nibali cruises to victory in 18th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • Iraqi parliament elects moderate Kurd as president

    Read more

  • US, European agencies lift travel restrictions to Tel Aviv

    Read more

  • No end to fighting until Israel ends Gaza blockade, Hamas says

    Read more

  • Two foreign women shot dead in western Afghanistan

    Read more

  • At least 60 killed in attack on prison convoy near Baghdad

    Read more

  • Cycling is ‘winning the war on doping,’ says expert

    Read more

Italy

Berlusconi to attend all court hearings

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-03-06

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who is currently involved in three different legal battles, will appear at all of his court hearings, his lawyer said Saturday. Berlusconi faces charges of fraud, abuse of power and sex with a minor.

AFP - Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, plagued by legal troubles including accusations he had sex with an underage prostitute, will attend all his court hearings, his lawyer said Saturday.

"There is an unusual level of attention on him and so he thinks it right to appear in person," Niccolo Ghedini told reporters in Milan, specifying that the premier, who has not attended court for years, will be present at all hearings.

"We are willing to conduct the trials, and quickly," Ghedini said, adding that Berlusconi would arrange his schedule so that he can attend four hearings a month, on Mondays, as well as some Saturdays "in extreme cases".

Though the Italian leader can legitimately avoid appearing in court by saying that his official duties prevent him from attending hearings, Ghedini met with Milan's public prosecutor's office on Friday to discuss his availability.

All trials against the Italian prime minister were suspended in April last year following the adoption of a law the previous month granting 74-year-old Berlusconi impunity from prosecution for 18 months.

In mid-January the Constitutional Court partially struck down that measure, opening the way for the resumption of the court cases from February 26, when the slew of trials involving the premier kicked off once more.

The embattled leader -- accused of tax fraud, witness corruption and having sex with an underage prostitute and using his position to cover up his alleged crime -- is currently involved in three trials, as well as another case still at the preliminary hearings stage.

The prime minister is set to appear before a court in Milan on Friday for a trial on his alleged payment of 600,000 dollars (436,000 euros) to former British lawyer David Mills to commit perjury in two trials in the 1990s.

Berlusconi is also involved in a trial examining allegations he and others at his Mediaset business empire engaged in fraud to make its revenues appear smaller than they really were.

Finally, he is also suspected of abuse of confidence in a tax fraud case involving the purchase of television rights by Mediatrade-RTI, one of his many companies.

The hearing, postponed Saturday until March 28, will decide whether the premier should stand trial.

But Berlusconi's real nightmare begins on April 6 with a trial involving barely legal pole dancer Karima El Mahroug, better known to Italians as "Ruby the Heart Stealer".

Berlusconi's lawyers are expected to argue that the Milan court does not have the right to hear the case, reports said, while the government is trying to restore full parliamentary immunity that would also cover Berlusconi.

The opposition accuses Berlusconi of creating laws just so he can dodge criminal investigations, while the prime minister regularly says that prosecutors are out to get him and have a left-wing bias.

 

Date created : 2011-03-05

  • ITALY

    Berlusconi's tax fraud trial resumes

    Read more

  • ITALY

    Berlusconi 'not worried' over forthcoming underage sex trial

    Read more

  • ITALY

    Berlusconi faces April trial in underage sex scandal

    Read more

COMMENT(S)