Giovedì, 18 Ottobre 2018
MILAN

>>>ANSA/One-year jail term requested for Berlusconi

English
© ANSA

Milan, December 20 - A Milan prosecutor on Thursday
requested ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi be sent to prison for
one-year for involvement in the publication of an illegally
obtained wiretap in his brother Paolo's conservative newspaper
Il Giornale.
The prosecutor requested a jail term of three years and
three months for Paolo Berlusconi. A verdict on the trial is
expected to be given in January.
The wiretap concerned a conversation in 2005 between one
of Berlusconi's political opponents, Piero Fassino, the then
head of the former centre-left Democratic Left (DS) party, and
Giovanni Consorte, the former chairman of Unipol, an association
of insurers historically linked to the DS, the heir to Italy's
Communist Party.
At the time Unipol came close to taking over one of
Italy's leading banks, Banca Nazionale del Lavoro (BNL), and
Fassino was recorded as saying "we have a bank!".
Fassino, now mayor of Turin, was widely criticised for the
comment, especially among the rank and file of the DS, which has
since turned into a larger centre-left group, the Democratic
Party.
Fassino's lawyer said Thursday that the mayor would sue
the Berlusconi brothers for a million euros for "enormous moral,
political and existential" damage.
Niccolo' Ghedini, Berlusconi's lawyer and an MP for his
People of Freedom (PdL) party, said Thursday's request was part
of a campaign by prosecutors to discredit the media magnate, who
will stand for a fourth term as premier in elections in
February.
Ghedini said Milan magistrates were trying to have "a
major influence on the result of the elections".
Before being indicted, Berlusconi told a Milan court that
he had never heard the wiretap, adding "otherwise I would have
remembered".
The Milan prosecutors's version of events is different.
They say Paolo Berlusconi was allowed to hear the tape,
before it was even logged in as evidence, by Roberto Raffaelli,
the head of the firm Research Control System (RCS) which had
been contracted by criminal investigators to make the wiretap.
Several weeks later Raffaelli and a businessman friend,
Fabrizio Favata, allegedly went to Silvio Berlusconi's private
mansion in Arcore, outside Milan, and played it for the premier
and, again, his brother before handing over a copy.
A transcript of the Fassino-Consorte conversation was
published several days later in Il Giornale.
The investigators allege that Silvio Berlusconi was
blackmailed by Favata over the handing-over of the wiretap but
failed to report this for "almost three years".
In October Berlusconi was sentenced to four years in jail
in relation to tax fraud in the trading of film rights for TV
broadcasts by his Mediaset media empire.
His appeal against that sentence, which also banned him
from holding public office for five years, is set to start in
March.
In Italy convictions for non-violent crimes do not usually
become effective until the double appeals process has been
exhausted.
Due to a 2006 amnesty law, Berlusconi will not have to
serve three of the four years of that jail sentence if the
ruling is upheld.
Berlusconi is also on trial for allegedly having sex with
an underage alleged prostitute nicknamed Ruby during his third
stint as premier and and using his position to allegedly try to
hush it up.
In the ongoing and several other previous trials,
Berlusconi has always denied wrongdoing, claiming he is the
victim of a minority group of allegedly left-wing prosecutors
and judges who he says are persecuting him for political
reasons.
Berlusconi has been tried some 30 times but has only been
convicted three times - verdicts that were either timed out or
overturned on appeal - prior to the Mediaset fraud verdict.

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