ROME – Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has made his latest appearance in court in Milan on corruption charges.
Outside the court he attacked prosecutors for humiliating him when he had better things to do, on the day when Osama Bin Laden had been killed. He called the charges against him “pure invention”. This case, known as Mediatrade, is one of four Mr Berlusconi is currently facing.The Italian prime minister denies claims he inflated the price paid for TV rights and then skimmed off the difference to fund political and other activities.
His son and a number of others are accused alongside him. He appeared in court on 28 March 2011 for a preliminary hearing – his first court appearance in more than seven years. Monday’s appearance, his second in this case, took place behind closed doors and is to help determine whether it goes to full trial.He has also recently appeared in an open hearing in another case.
Every time he attends court Mr Berlusconi takes the opportunity to attack the magistrates who have put him on trial, says the BBC’s Duncan Kennedy in Rome.
This time was no exception. Before going into the court he proclaimed: “There is something which is not going in the right direction for a democracy to have government leaders humiliated by having to spend hours in court while these important international events are taking place.”As well as the Mediatrade court case Mr Berlusconi also faces two other corruption trials and a fourth where he is accused of paying an underage prostitute and of an abuse of power.
In that trial Mr Berlusconi faces up to 15 years in jail. In each case Mr. Berlusconi says he is innocent.