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From bad to worse for Berlusconi

Wednesday, June 26, 2013 - 01:55

June 27 - Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is facing the outcome of two separate corruption cases, just days after being found guilty of paying for sex with a minor. As Ivor Bennett reports, it adds complications to an already complex political situation.

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This really is a head-in-the-hands week for Silvio Berlusconi. On top of being sentenced to seven years in jail - a decision he's expected to appeal - the former Prime Minister is now facing verdicts on two separate corruption cases. First up, the Italian Supreme Court. It'll rule on an appeals verdict from 2011 concerning Berlusconi's holding company Fininvest... and its acquisition of this publishing company in the 90s. The original ruling ordered Berlusconi's company to pay 560 million dollars to a rival media group over alleged irregularities. While it's not a criminal case, analysts believe it will still have consequences. Reuters correspondent James Mackenzie. (SOUNDBITE) (English) REUTERS CORRESPONDENT JAMES MACKENZIE SAYING: "It is another of the legal battles that he is facing, Berlusconi, at a particularly sensitive moment in Italian politics. He is the leader of the biggest centre-right party. He is a key member behind the government, even if he is not a member in the government. He is certainly a key player in the whole construction of the Italian government system at the moment. This is yet another complication added to an already very complicated situation." Also under scrutiny is Berlusconi's rise to the top job in 2008. A Naples court will decide whether he should stand trial over allegations of political bribery. Berlusconi's accused of bribing a senator to switch sides and destabilise the narrow majority of then Prime Minister Romano Prodi. It was a government that didn't even last two years, and its fall was celebrated with champagne by some in the Senate. Berlusconi denies any wrongdoing. But if the verdicts go against him, it won't just be him that's feeling the strain. It could mean a volatile new phase for an already fragile coalition government.

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From bad to worse for Berlusconi

Wednesday, June 26, 2013 - 01:55