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Berlusconi to stand trial for bribing senator

Former Italian PM is charged of bribing senator in attempt to bring down Romano Prodi government in 2006.

Last Modified: 23 Oct 2013 17:45
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Berlusconi has denied any wrongdoing and is confident of the outcome of the Feb. 2014 preliminary hearing [Reuters]

Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has been indicted on a political corruption charge linked to the 2008 collapse of Romano Prodi's government, a defence lawyer in the case has said.

Naples prosecutors accused Berlusconi on Wednesday of bribing a former senator to change sides as part of an attempt to bring down the government of former Prime Minister Prodi in 2006.

The senator, Sergio De Gregorio, admitted he received three million euros from Berlusconi. He was sentenced to 20 months in jail after plea bargaining.

De Gregorio, in a telephone interview with local TV station, Sky, said he had told prosecutors what he knew about the alleged payment and added that he later expressed his regrets to Prodi.

In collaborating with prosecutors, in "telling the truth, I lifted a weight'' off my conscience, De Gregorio said.

Berlusconi has denied any wrongdoing and his lawyer Michele Cerabona said he was confident of the outcome of a preliminary hearing expected on February 11 next year.

Legal headaches

The case adds to a long list of legal headaches facing the billionaire media tycoon. Earlier this month, an appeals court in Milan handed Berlusconi a two-year political ban as part of his punishment for a tax fraud conviction.

Berlisconi also risks a seven-year prison sentence if appeals' courts uphold a conviction for having paid a minor for sex and forcing officials to cover it up.

Berlusconi has blamed his many judicial woes on magistrates he contends side with the political left.

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