Giovedì, 18 Ottobre 2018
ROME

Judiciary appeals to minister over Berlusconi attacks

English
© ANSA

(By Paul Virgo)
Rome, May 15 - The Italian judiciary's
self-governing body, the Supreme Council of Magistrates (CSM),
on Wednesday approved a document calling on Justice Minister
Anna Maria Cancellieri to support judges "without any
uncertainty" from attacks by former premier Silvio Berlusconi.
Berlusconi has intensified his claims that he is the victim
of persecution from left-wing magistrates after his legal
problems grew more serious this month.
At the weekend Berlusconi spoke at a protest rally in
Brescia against alleged judicial persecution that was attended
by some members of his People of Freedom (PdL) who are also
ministers in Premier Enrico Letta's left-right government.
These included Deputy Premier and Interior Minister
Angelino Alfano.
"The justice minister should make her support for the whole
judiciary heard without any uncertainty," read the CSM document.
"It is indispensable that there is maximum respect between
all the institutions".
Berlusconi's and the PdL's renewed attacks on some parts of
the judiciary come after a series of legal setbacks for the
three-time premier.
The 76-year-old failed in a bid to have a four-year
conviction for fraud at his media empire overturned by an
appeals court last week.
On Monday prosecutors requested he receive a six-year
prison sentence for allegedly paying for sex with an underage
prostitute and allegedly abusing his power to try to cover up
the affair.
On Tuesday Rome prosecutors questioned Berlusconi over
suspicions he paid 750,000 euros to buy the silence of people
regarding his alleged use of prostitutes.
In this case he is believed to be the victim of extortion
by three former associates but he is also probed in a related
investigation in Bari of suspicion of bribing people to lie
about his alleged sex parties.
In March Berlusconi was handed a one-year prison sentence
for the publication of an illegally obtained wiretap of a
telephone conversation of a political rival in his brother's
newspaper.
And last week Naples prosecutors requested the ex-premier
be sent to trial over allegations he bribed former Senator
Sergio De Gregorio to change political sides during Romano
Prodi's 2006-2008 centre-left government.
Berlusconi denies any wrongdoing in all cases.
The CSM petition was approved on Wednesday with 19 votes in
favour, three against and two abstentions.
Two of the people to vote against the document were
non-judge CSM members nominated by the PdL, while the other was
nominated by the Northern League, the long-standing ally of
Berlusconi's party.
One CSM member appointed by the PdL voted in favour.
Cancellieri, who was interior minister in former premier
Mario Monti's technocrat administration and is not linked to a
political party, did not respond with an immediate show of
support.
But she said she had "absolutely no problem" with the CSM
and would take the issue it had raised to Friday's cabinet
meeting and to parliament next week.
She added that she had twice met CSM chief Michele Vietti
in recent days and that a meeting with the whole body was in the
pipeline.
The appeal to Cancellieri did not stop Berlusconi's backers
expressing their support, including the media magnate's daughter
Marina Berlusconi, who called the sex trial a "farce".
She also said that the Berlusconi family holding company
Fininvest is set to sue former anti-Mafia prosecutor Antonio
Ingroia for suggesting it had laundered money from the Mob.
"This gentleman dares to describe Fininvest as a company
that has recycled Mafia capital," Marina Berlusconi, Fininvest's
chairwoman, told one of the group's media assets, newsweekly
Panorama.
Ingroia, who has unsuccessfully tried to prosecute
ex-premier Berlusconi for Mafia links, recently rejoined the
judiciary after creating a leftist party that flopped in
February's general election.
Marina Berlusconi accused Ingroia of "manipulating"
evidence from trials that failed to convict her father and
added:
"We (Fininvest) have paid more than nine billion euros in
taxes in the last 20 years, we have invested 27, we employ
almost 20,000 people. Is it too much to expect a bit of
respect?.
"We have always played by the rules".

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