Sabato, 22 Settembre 2018
ROME

Berlusconi crosses swords with critics on talk show

English
© ANSA

Rome, January 11 - A combative Silvio Berlusconi
held his own in a sometimes heated encounter with long-time
enemy and talk-show host Michele Santoro Thursday night.
The ex-premier, leading a centre-right coalition in next
month's elections, defended his three-term government record,
especially in its tax policies and fight against the mafia,
while reiterating he was the victim of a prosecutors' conspiracy
and voicing confidence he would be cleared of a tax-fraud
conviction.
He replied directly to his most implacable critic, Santoro's
wingman Marco Travaglio, calling him a "professional libeller"
and detailing a string of civil-damage rulings against the
left-wing journalist.
The show on Italy's La7 TV channel, the only one not
controlled by the State or Berlusconi, was closely watched and
there were running bets that Berlusconi would walk off.
Santoro was one of three TV figures effectively blackballed
by Berlusconi after he said they made "criminal" use of the
airwaves in the run-up to the 2001 elections, which the media
magnate won.
Berlusconi also won on his debut in 1994 and in 2008,
lasting three and a half years before Italy's debt crisis forced
him to hand over to technocrat Mario Monti.
Berlusconi repeated on Santoro's show that he would be
pressing for a probe into an alleged international banking
conspiracy that helped ease him from office.
The ex-premier also said his many trials were due to Italy
having a "different" judiciary from other countries, in which a
minority of Milan-based magistrates were able to hound him.
After last month's four-year conviction for inflating prices
on TV rights for US films, which he said was "bound to be
quashed", Berlusconi is on trial for allegedly paying an
underage prostitute nicknamed Ruby for sex and using his
influence to spring her from a Milan police station after an
unrelated theft claim.
The premier and Ruby, who admits attending parties with a
stable of 30 or more young women at Berlusconi's villa near
Milan, deny having sex.

© Riproduzione riservata

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