Italy bar association slams Berlusconi over judges attack

22nd May 2009, Comments 0 comments

Berluscioni, reeling from disclosures over his links with a blonde teenager and with European Union elections less than three weeks away, has said he senses a political a motive behind both scandals.

Rome -- Italy's bar association on Thursday slammed Silvio Berlusconi for claiming judges were politically motivated after a Milan court convicted the prime minister's British tax lawyer of corruption.

The Italian magistrates' association said in a statement that Berlusconi's "invective and accusations of a personal nature" against the lead judge at the Milan court were designed to "undermine fundamental constitutional principles."

"It is serious accusation to cast doubt on... the independence and impartiality of judges," it added.

Berluscioni, reeling from disclosures over his links with a blonde teenager and with European Union elections less than three weeks away, has said he senses a political a motive behind both scandals.

"It's an outrageous judgement and the exact opposite of the truth," he added Thursday, referring to Tuesday's ruling by the Milan court in which it gave its full reasoning for convicting Berlusconi's tax lawyer David Mills of accepting a 600,000-dollar (440,000-euro) bribe from him in exchange for false testimony.

"Criminal justice is a sickness in our system," he said, adding that he was determined to reform it.

Mills, the estranged husband of Britain's Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell, gave "false testimony... in order to grant impunity to Silvio Berlusconi and (his holding company) Fininvest... or at least to protect the considerable profits earned," according to the court's detailed findings.

Berlusconi, a staunch anti-communist, who has fought charges including tax fraud, false accounting and illegally financing political parties, has repeatedly accused Milan's "red judges" of having it in for him.

Berlusconi is immune from prosecution under a law he sponsored shortly after returning to power for a third time last year.

AFP/Expatica

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