Trials involving Silvio Berlusconi


Trials involving Silvio Berlusconi

Some of the many trials involving Silvio Berlusconi are summarised below.

Completed processes

False testimony on Propaganda 2 : guilty, but amnestied

In 1990 Berlusconi was declared guilty of false testimony by the appeal court of Venice on his affiliation to the freemason lodge "Propaganda 2", commonly known as "P2"; however the court did not proceed to a punishment sentence because the wrongdoing had been extinguished by an amnesty passed in 1989.


=Bribing a member of the Financial Police (corruption) : statute of limitations=

First Court: sentenced to jail (2 years and 9 months) for four bribes.
Appeal court: the statute of limitations expired for three of the charges, an acquittal was given on the fourth because the court gave him the benefit of the doubt (not proven).

All Iberian 1 (illegally financing a political party) : statute of limitations

First Court: sentenced to jail (2 years and 4 months) for paying 21 billion lire (about 10 million euro) to Bettino Craxi via an offshore bank account codenamed "All Iberian".
Appeal Court: the statute of limitations expired before the appeal was completed so Silvio Berlusconi was acquitted.

Medusa Cinema (false accounting) : not proven

First Court: sentenced to jail (16 months) for false accounting of 10 billion Lire (about 5 million euro) in some of Silvio Berlusconi's bank accounts.
Appeal Court: acquitted on the charge. The court gave him the benefit of the doubt (not proven).

Lodo Mondadori (corrupting a judge) : statute of limitations

Appeal Court: statute of limitations expired before the appeal was completed so Silvio Berlusconi was acquitted.

All Iberian 2 (false accounting) : law changed

First Court: on September 26 2005 Berlusconi was acquitted because the new law on false accounting makes false accounting illegal only if there is a specific damaged party reporting the fact to the authorities [http://www.repubblica.it/2005/i/sezioni/cronaca/allibe/allibe/allibe.html] . This new law was passed by Berlusconi's coalition after the beginning of the trial, and was claimed by the opposition to be an "ad personam" law, i.e. aimed at acquitting Berlusconi.

Fininvest media group consolidated (false accounting) : statute of limitations

Allegation: 750 million euro of illegal (black) funds stored by Fininvest in 64 offshore companies. The statute of limitations expired due to the new laws on false accounting approved by Berlusconi's government, therefore an acquittal was given because no specific damaged party reported it to the government.

Macherio estates (embezzlement, tax fraud and false accounting) : statute of limitations

First Court: acquitted for embezzlement and tax fraud, the statute of limitations expired before a verdict was reached on the two cases of false accounting.
Appeal Court: acquitted for embezzlement, tax fraud and the first case of false accounting; statute of limitations expired for the second, therefore the case was closed.

Lentini affair (false accounting) : not guilty

Allegation: 5 million euro paid secretly to Torino football club for buying the player Gianluigi Lentini bringing him to AC Milan.
First court: The statute of limitations expired for the charge, therefore the case was closed with an acquittal on December 13, 2005.

Mediaset television and cinema rights (false accounting, embezzlement and tax fraud) : not proven

Mr Berlusconi was on trial in relation to transactions carried out by the Berlusconi family's media company Mediaset in the 1990s. Prosecutors suspected two offshore firms controlled by a Berlusconi family holding, Fininvest, bought television and cinema rights from a US firm. The companies, it was alleged, then sold the rights on at inflated prices to Mediaset, also controlled by Fininvest, to avoid Italian taxes and create a slush fund. The trial started on November 21, 2006. The court acquitted Berlusconi, giving him the benefit of the doubt (not proven).

ME-Ariosto (corrupting a judge and false accounting) : not guilty

At its outset, the trial SME-Ariosto involved both Cesare Previti and Silvio Berlusconi. Subsequently a bill was approved by the Italian parliament, the so called "Lodo Maccanico" act (also known as "Lodo Schifani", after the name of Renato Schifani, the lawyer of Berlusconi and now speaker of the Italian Senate who was also a member of parliament working on the law). This law guaranteed immunity to the five highest officers of the state (premier, president of the Republic, Senate's speaker, Deputy Chamber's speaker, Constitutional Court's president) during their period in office. To avoid complete suspension of the trial, the Court of Milan split it into two parts, one regarding Cesare Previti, the other Silvio Berlusconi. The Cesare Previti part of the trial resulted in a guilty verdict. In the other part (regarding Silvio Berlusconi) the Italian Prime Minister's innocence had still not been proven but the case had to be stopped because of the "Lodo Maccanico"' immunity act. On 16 April 2004 the Constitutional Court declared that the "Lodo Maccanico" violated articles n. 3 and 34 of the Italian Constitution, [http://www.ricercagiuridica.com/penale/visual.asp?num=2129] therefore this immunity act was declared unconstitutional and the trial resumed.After 12 years of trial, Silvio Berlusconi was acquitted on April 27, 2007, because of art.530 comma 2 ("He didn't' commit the fact", i.e. full acquittal).

Telecinco (tax fraud) : not guilty

Mr Berlusconi has been indicted in Spain for charges of tax fraud and violation of anti-trust laws regarding the private TV network Telecinco. All the accused have been acquitted by the Spanish "Corte de Casacion" in July 2008.


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