Former Italian PM Berlusconi appeals to European Court over Mediolanum stake

Italy's former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi attends television talk show "Porta a Porta" (Door to Door) in Rome, Italy, November 30, 2016. REUTERS/Remo Casilli

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi and his holding company Fininvest have appealed to the European Court of Justice against a decision by the European Central Bank that Fininvest should cut its stake in asset manager Banca Mediolanum MED.MI.

Court documents on Friday showed Berlusconi and Fininvest had filed a case against the ECB at the EU Court of Justice on Dec. 23, without giving any more details.

Nicolo Ghedini, lawyer for Fininvest and Berlusconi, said the appeal was related to Banca Mediolanum.

The ECB declined to comment.

In 2014 Fininvest, which owns 30 percent of Mediolanum, was ordered by the Bank of Italy to sell just over 20 percent because Berlusconi was no longer deemed fit to own more than 10 percent of a financial company after being convicted of tax fraud.

An Italian appeals court later ruled in favor of a request by Fininvest to cancel the stake sale. In October last year, the ECB said it was opposed to Fininvest owning a “significant stake” in Mediolanum.

Fininvest said at the time it rejected the ECB decision and would act to protect its interests.

“We already had a favorable ruling from the appeals court, then the Bank of Italy referred the matter to the ECB. And so now we’re presenting the same appeal to the European Court of Justice,” Ghedini said.

Reporting By Francesco Canepa and Emilio Parodi, writing by Stephen Jewkes; Editing by Hugh Lawson and Jane Merriman