Berlusconi acquitted in Italy corruption trial

Judge in trial against former prime minister said there was no evidence for conviction

Italy's former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi. Photo: Reuters
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Former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi was acquitted of judicial corruption charges on Thursday evening in a trial in Italy, his lawyers said.

Judge Simone Spina, reading the verdict in Siena, Tuscany, said there was no evidence for conviction, Italian media reported.

Prosecutors had alleged that Mr Berlusconi had sought to corrupt with pay-offs to witnesses who were to testify about what happened at the “bunga-bunga” parties with young female guests at his villa in Arcore, on the outskirts of Milan.

La Repubblica daily quoted one of the defence lawyers, Federico Cecconi, as saying he had told Mr Berlusconi about the acquittal and billionaire media mogul, 85, was “obviously relieved and satisfied.”

Also acquitted of judicial corruption was a pianist who worked at Arcore during the evenings, which the defence had described as elegant dinner parties, Italian news reports said.

Prosecutors had sought conviction and a prison sentence of four years for both defendants.

The trial was an off-shoot of a criminal case that ended up in Italy’s top criminal court.

That court in 2015 upheld a 2014 appeals court acquittal of Mr Berlusconi on charges that he had paid for sex with an underage prostitute during the “bunga-bunga” parties and had used his influence to cover it up.

Mr Berlusconi started in politics three decades ago, forming his centre-right party, Forza Italia, going on to serve three times as premier.

Updated: October 21, 2021, 10:11 PM