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Berlusconi bribery trial to resume March 11

The trial of Italy`s PM Silvio Berlusconi is which he is accused of bribing his former tax lawyer resumes on March 11, a Milan court said.

Updated: Feb 09, 2011, 11:08 AM IST

Rome: The trial of Italy`s Prime Minister
Silvio Berlusconi is which he is accused of bribing his former
tax lawyer resumes on March 11, a Milan court said today.

The trial, suspended in April under a temporary
immunity law, is based on allegations that Berlusconi gave
lawyer David Mills a 600,000-dollar (400,000-euro) bribe to
provide false evidence during two trials in the mid-1990s.

All trials involving the Italian leader were suspended
after parliament adopted a law in March 2010 that gave
Berlusconi or any member of his cabinet automatic legal
immunity for at least 18 months.

But in January Italy`s top court ruled the law
unconstitutional and opened the way for corruption trials to
resume, providing that judges decide on a case-by-case basis
if the Italian leader should appear in court proceedings.

Berlusconi can still avoid coming before Milan`s
judges on grounds of legitimate impediment, if the trial date
should clash with a state visit, a foreign visitor a meeting
of Italy`s council of ministers.

A second trial for tax evasion linked to Berlusconi`s
Mediaset empire will resume on February 28.

Mediaset is alleged to have artificially inflated the
price of film rights sold to companies that belonged to
Berlusconi and then sold back to Mediaset, allowing the
company to reduce its revenues and pay less tax.

The charge is punishable by between 18 months and six
years in prison.

A self-made billionaire, Berlusconi has faced charges
including corruption, tax fraud, false accounting and
illegally financing political parties.

Although some initial judgements have gone against him
he has never been definitively convicted.

PTI