Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

ENCORE!

'Oh my Gad!' French comedian Gad Elmaleh on his American dream

Read more

THE DEBATE

Democratic Convention: Can the Democrats now unite around Hillary Clinton?

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

'Lady Liberty': The story behind the pictures

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'The People Want Bernie' chanted at Democratic Convention

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Air France set for fresh strike action

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Is France 'at war'?

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

South Sudan: President Salva Kiir names new vice president

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Leaked emails overshadow Democratic convention

Read more

ENCORE!

Music show: Hot hits for the summer season

Read more

Europe

Prosecutors seek five-year jail term for Berlusconi

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-02-15

Italian prosecutors on Wednesday demanded a five-year sentence for former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi in his trial for bribery. Even if found guilty, he may avoid jail because the charges will soon be overtaken by the statute of limitations.

REUTERS - Italian prosecutors asked a Milan court on Wednesday to sentence Silvio Berlusconi to five years in prison on charges of paying British lawyer David Mills a $600,000 bribe to lie about the former prime minister's business interests.

But even if the media tycoon is found guilty, he is not likely to go to jail because the case, which dates to 1997, will be overtaken in a few months by the statute of limitations.

The scandal-plagued Berlusconi, who was forced out of power in November as Italy faced a perilous debt crisis, faces three other trials on charges including tax fraud and paying for sex with an underage nightclub dancer.

Milan prosecutor Fabio De Pasquale told the court on Wednesday that the bribery charge would be overtaken by the statute of limitations between early May and mid-July.

Mills, husband of former British cabinet minister Tessa Jowell, has already had a 4-1/2-year jail sentence for taking the bribe quashed by the statute.

Mills told the trial in December that he lied when he told British tax authorities that he had received the $600,000 payment from a Berlusconi associate, and said the former prime minister had nothing to do with the case.

He said he was deeply ashamed for implicating him.

Prosecutors allege that Berlusconi paid Mills to lie under oath in separate court cases.
Berlusconi, 75, denies all charges against him, saying he is being hounded by politically motivated left-wing magistrates.

Berlusconi's lawyers say the charges in the Mills case have already expired and that the three-judge panel is biased against their client.

They have asked for other judges to take over the case. A separate court is expected to decide on this request on Feb. 18.

Berlusconi, already on trial for separate charges of tax fraud and in the "Rubygate" sex scandal, will face a new case on March 15 on charges of revealing confidential information related to a 2005 banking scandal.

The Mills trial is due to continue on Feb. 25. A verdict could come in the spring.

Date created : 2012-02-15

  • ITALY

    Berlusconi's rule comes to an end

    Read more

  • ITALY

    The twilight of Berlusconi's long reign

    Read more

  • ITALY

    Berlusconi departure fails to calm markets

    Read more

COMMENT(S)