An Italian judge has ordered that Silvio Berlusconi, the former prime minister, stand trial on corruption charges along with British lawyer David Mills.
He denies any wrongdoing and has accused his critics of bringing the charges against him for political gain.
He is not expected to attend the opening sessions of the trial, which is expected to last for months and possibly years. Tuesday’s hearing is expected to be largely procedural.
He was quoted on Tuesday as saying he would not lead Italy’s government if his centre-right coalition is returned to power.
Berlusconi was quoted by Libero newspaper as telling a group of friends: “We will certainly return to power but I can already tell you something. Whatever happens, I will not go back to Palazzo Chigi (the prime minister’s office).”
Berlusconi first amassed a fortune through real estate before later moving into politics, founding the Forza italia party and twice becoming prime minister.
He has a wide range of business interests varying from publishing to and being the owner of the AC Milan football club.