Giovedì, 20 Settembre 2018
ROME

No proof Berlusconi involved in crime, says defence lawyer

English
© ANSA

Rome, July 31 - Silvio Berlusconi's defence team on
Wednesday told Italy's supreme court that there is no proof the
ex-premier was involved in the tax fraud at his media empire.
Judges at Italy's supreme Court of Cassation are
considering whether to uphold a four-year prison term and
five-year ban on holding public office against the media tycoon.
A decision is expected Thursday.
The ruling is being hotly awaited, in part because of the
possible consequences it could have for Premier Enrico Letta's
fragile left-right government, which needs the support of
Berlusconi's centre-right People of Freedom (PdL) party to
survive.
If the Cassation upholds the verdict, if will be the first
time Berlusconi, who has been at the centre of many criminal
cases since he started his political career two decades ago, has
received a definitive conviction.
"An element of proof that Berlusconi may have taken part in
the actual crime is lacking in the fabric of the sentence," said
Niccolò Ghedini, one of Berlusconi's lawyers.
The four-year conviction regards a system of inflated
film-rights purchases at Berlusconi's Mediaset media empire and
the use of offshore companies to create slush funds. Prosecutors
say this enabled Berlusconi to dodge taxes on around seven
million euros in 2002 and 2003.
Berlusconi says he had nothing to do with these dealings or
authorising them as he was too occupied with political matters.
He was premier at the time.
State prosecutors on Tuesday requested that a five-year ban
on holding public office handed down at the previous two trials
be reduced to three years.

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