Former Italian PM Berlusconi in hospital since Tuesday: sources

MILAN (Reuters) - Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has been in hospital since Tuesday afternoon for check-ups, two sources from his Forza Italia party said on Wednesday.

FILE PHOTO: Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi speaks to the media as he leaves Milan's San Raffaele hospital, where he was being treated after testing positive for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and diagnosed with mild pneumonia, in Milan, Italy, September 14, 2020. REUTERS/Flavio Lo Scalzo

One of the sources said the 84-year-old media tycoon went to the San Raffaele hospital in Milan for follow-up tests after contracting the new coronavirus in September last year.

This is the second time in just a few weeks that Berlusconi finds himself in hospital, after another routine check-up at the end of March. Forza Italia said then that he had been admitted for clinical monitoring and adjustment to an ongoing therapy.

Berlusconi, who underwent major heart surgery in 2016 and has also survived prostate cancer, was admitted to hospital in January this year as well because of heart problems.

A hearing for a case connected to the one in which he was acquitted of having sex with an underage prostitute nicknamed “Ruby” is scheduled on Thursday in the Tuscan town of Siena, with a judge expected to hand down a sentence.

In this new trial Berlusconi is accused of bribing witnesses to stay silent over the under-aged prostitution case, starting in 2013. He has always denied any wrongdoing.

The decision of the Siena-based judge was due in January but postponed due to Berlusconi’s hospitalisation.

“We will assess what needs to be done tomorrow in the light of what I will be told and showed by the doctors,” Federico Cecconi, a lawyer for Berlusconi, said when asked whether he would ask for the hearing to be put off again.

Shares in Mediaset, the broadcaster controlled by the Berlusconi family, were up 1.45% by 1130 GMT, compared with a flat Milan blue-chip index.

Traders had previously cited speculation about potential ownership changes at the group if Berlusconi’s condition worsened.

Reporting by Angelo Amante, additional reporting by Alfredo Faieta, writing by Agnieszka Flak; Editing by Crispian Balmer and Mark Heinrich