NPR logo Berlusconi Tax-Fraud Case Moves Forward


Berlusconi Tax-Fraud Case Moves Forward

Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is back on trial for tax fraud today, after Italy's Constitutional Court stripped the embattled leader of immunity from prosecution. That decision also allows three other cases to move forward, as well, on charges ranging from abuse of power to sex with a minor.

The tax case stems from Berlusconi's media empire. His Mediaset corporation is accused of using offshore companies to reduce the taxes it would owe for buying TV rights to U.S films. Prosecutors say that Mediaset used the purchase to create a "slush fund."

Berlusconi wasn't in court Monday, and the case will have its next hearing on April 11.

But Berlusconi has many other legal troubles. Reporting from Rome, Silvia Poggioli says that

Two other court cases are to resume in coming weeks – one is a corruption case in which Berlusconi is accused of paying $600,000 to a British lawyer who has already been convicted of taking the bribe.

On April 6, Berlusconi goes on trial on charges of having paid for sex with a minor and then trying to cover it up.

The Italian media has been filled with transcripts of wiretapped conversations among show girls who attended Berlusconi's parties, describing orgies at the prime minister's home.