Venerdì, 21 Settembre 2018

'De Gregorio admits to Berlusconi bribes, sabotage'


Rome, February 28 - Senator Sergio De Gregorio
admitted to accepting three million euros in bribe money from
ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi to destabilize Romano Prodi's
2006-2008 government by defecting from the centre left and
joining Berlusconi's party, prosecutors said Thursday after
investigation results were shared in the Senate and the House.
"The deal was made in 2006," Naples prosecutors quoted the
Senator as saying. "My meeting at (Berlusconi's Rome home)
Palazzo Grazioli was to agree on the sum of three million euros,
which began coming in immediately".
Prosecutors said De Gregorio came forward with the
allegations in December.
He is said to have first accepted two million euros in
untraceable installments of 200-300,000 euros from Berlusconi
associate Valter Lavitola, De Gregorio's partner in the running
of daily newspaper L'Avanti! who was sent to prison in Naples in
April after spending over six months in South America as a
fugitive of Italian justice.
After eventually joining Berlusconi's center-right People
of Freedom (PdL) party in a deal, De Gregorio became an
outspoken opponent of his former PD party with the aim of
bringing it down, De Gregorio told prosecutors.
Earlier Thursday a safety deposit box in Berlusconi's name
was seized by Italian police and the three-time Italian premier
was summoned to appear before Naples prosecutors on March 5.
The PdL said the move signalled that some prosecutors have
resumed their alleged judicial "persecution" of Berlusconi, a
claim the magistrate's union ANM denied.
Lavitola and Berlusconi are being probed in a separate
case regarding allegations they induced a witness to lie to
investigators about alleged sex parties at the former premier's
Berlusconi is also on trial in Milan over accusations he
paid for sex with an underage Moroccan dancer, and is accused of
abuse of office in the same case.
Berlusconi is appealing against a one-year conviction he
was handed last year for tax fraud on film rights for his
Mediaset TV group.
The ex-premier has also been indicted over accusations he
was involved in the publication of an illegally obtained
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
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.
Earlier on Thursday, prosecutors in the northern city of
Reggio Emilia said they had opened a probe into a letter
Berlusconi sent to millions of Italians about an election pledge
to pay back the IMU property-tax.
Berlusconi was accused of attempting to buy votes with the
pledge by rival politicians, who complained the letter was
deceptive as it looked like an official document informing
people about how to obtain a rebate, rather than an election
Rome prosecutors are also investigating after a similar

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