Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

FOCUS

Campaigning against Bouteflika's re-election... in France

Read more

WEB NEWS

Chile: Online mobilization to help Valparaiso fire victims

Read more

ENCORE!

Art, sex, money, memory and manga

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Spat over Iran's UN ambassador hampers thawing relations with US

Read more

FOCUS

China trade deal: Is Taiwan's identity under threat?

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'Call it a caretaker government'

Read more

DEBATE

Nigeria's Battles

Read more

DEBATE

Nigeria's Battles (part 2)

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Pornography without borders is key benefit of EU, says French MEP

Read more

  • France's new PM targets welfare in drive to cut spending

    Read more

  • Pro-Russia separatists ‘seize’ Ukrainian armoured vehicles

    Read more

  • Belgian head of wildlife reserve shot in eastern Congo

    Read more

  • Rescue effort under way as ferry sinks off S. Korean coast

    Read more

  • US rolls out red carpet for French critic of capitalism

    Read more

  • North Korea not amused by London hair salon's Kim Jong-un ad

    Read more

  • Brazil club Mineiro cancel Anelka signing after no-show

    Read more

  • Syria 'torture' photos silence UN Security Council members

    Read more

  • Paris laboratory loses deadly SARS virus samples

    Read more

  • More than 100 schoolgirls kidnapped in northeast Nigeria

    Read more

  • New York police disband unit targeting Muslims

    Read more

  • 'Miracle girl' healthy after seven-organ transplant in Paris

    Read more

  • Paris police memo calling for Roma eviction ‘rectified’

    Read more

  • Burgundy digs into France's bureaucratic 'mille-feuille'

    Read more

  • French court drops ‘hate speech’ case against Bob Dylan

    Read more

  • Algeria rights crackdown slammed ahead of election

    Read more

  • Iraq closes notorious Abu Ghraib jail over security fears

    Read more

  • Berlusconi sentenced to community service for tax fraud

    Read more

  • In ‘Tom at the Farm’, Xavier Dolan blends Hitchcock and homoeroticism

    Read more

  • US to mark one year since Boston Marathon bombing

    Read more

  • India's Supreme Court establishes third gender category

    Read more

Europe

Berlusconi makes rare court appearance for fraud case

©

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-03-29

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi made a rare court appearance on Monday but called the tax fraud case against him "ridiculous". The premier faces charges relating to the sale of film rights by his Mediaset company.

AP – Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi made a rare appearance Monday at a court hearing in Milan for a tax fraud case that he dismissed as groundless and ridiculous.

Berlusconi waved to a crowd of reporters and supporters from inside a black sedan as he entered the courthouse for the closed-door hearing. Prosecutors allege fraud in the sale of film rights by his Mediaset company.
 
The Italian leader has a history of legal woes but has rarely showed up in court. He has always denied wrongdoing and denounced what he says are left-leaning magistrates intent on hurting him politically.
 
“The prosecutors have shown that they want to persecute me and they don’t stop even in the face of facts and of ridiculousness,” he said Monday as he called in to a TV show on one of Mediaset’s channels.
 
Berlusconi said that the prosecutors see him as an “ideological and political enemy” and as “the obstacle preventing the left from gaining power.”
 
“Unfortunately communism in Italy never surrendered and never changed,” Berlusconi said. “I am the most accused man in the universe and in history.”
 
Berlusconi insisted that ever since he stepped into politics in the 1990s, he had stopped running his companies to devote himself to public office exclusively.
 
“These accusations are not only groundless but also ridiculous,” he maintained.
 
The courthouse was under tight security, with about 100 police and Carabinieri in riot gear on patrol.
 
A group of about 100 members of Berlusconi’s party and other supporters gathered outside the tribunal to cheer him on.
 
“It’s been since 1994 that the magistrates have been acting against the premier with innumerable trials,” said Alessandro Vigentini, a 20-year-old law student who is a member of Berlusconi’s party’s youth wing. “The premier has never been convicted. This needs to be understood.”
 
Berlusconi has either been acquitted or seen the statute of limitation against him expire.
 
The case is one of four currently involving Berlusconi. Earlier this year, Italy’s Constitutional Court watered down a law introduced by his government that shielded him from prosecution.
 
Contrary to the past, Berlusconi plans to attend hearings, barring engagements stemming from his official duty, his lawyers have said.
 
A trial on allegations he had sex with an underage prostitute opens next month.

 

Date created : 2011-03-28

  • ITALY

    Berlusconi denies paid sex with 'Ruby' 13 times

    Read more

  • ITALY

    Berlusconi 'not worried' over forthcoming underage sex trial

    Read more

  • ITALY

    Berlusconi to attend all court hearings

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)