Berlusconi faces corruption case in Spanish courts

6th September 2006, Comments 0 comments

6 September 2006, MADRID — Investigating judge Baltasar Garzon cited former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi in a corruption case on Wednesday.

6 September 2006

MADRID — Investigating judge Baltasar Garzon cited former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi in a corruption case on Wednesday.

Berlusconi had been linked to the alleged fraud case involving the Spanish television channel Telecino, to which the Italian magnate has business links.

But the former PM enjoyed immunity from prosecution as head of state.

He lost this when he was beaten in the Italian elections by Roman Prodi earlier this year.

Garzon said the suspension of proceedings against the tycoon was lifted "because of the fact  Silvio Berlusconi is not prime minister of the Republic of Italy, for which reason this proceeding had been suspended and for which he enjoyed immnity".

Prosecutors in Spain had asked Judge Garzon to lift the suspension.

The case, which was suspended five years ago, revolves around an alleged tax investigation centring on Berlusconi's holdings in Telecinco during the early 90s.

These holdings were alleged to surpass the 25 percent limit placed on ownership of a single television station by Spanish law.

Anti-corruption prosecutors claim Berlusconi's companies owned more than 50 percent of Telecinco, breaching anti-trust laws and committing tax fraud.

Offshore front companies were allegedly used to warehouse holdings in Telecinco, allowing the former Italian premier to maintain a majority share in the channel.

Berlusconi has denied any wrongdoing.

Eight of his business partners and employees in Telecinco went on trial in June in a case which is expected to last a number of months.

They face prison sentences of up to 14 years for alleged tax and document fraud.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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