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Archive for Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Former prime minister charged with corruption

October 31, 2006

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— A court Monday ordered former Premier Silvio Berlusconi to stand trial on charges of corruption along with the estranged husband of Britain's culture minister.

Berlusconi is accused of ordering the payment in 1997 of at least $600,000 to his co-defendant British lawyer David Mills, a close friend, in exchange for the lawyer's false testimony in two trials against Berlusconi. Both deny the allegations.

Mills is married to British Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell. They formally separated in March.

Judge Fabio Paparella issued the ruling after refusing a defense motion to remove himself from the case because he is presiding over a separate case charging Berlusconi and Mills with false accounting, embezzlement and tax fraud in the purchase by Berlusconi's Mediaset empire of TV rights for U.S. movies.

The new case is set to go to trial March 13. If convicted, Mills and Berlusconi could be sentenced to between three and eight years in prison, according to prosecutors.

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