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June 24, 2013

Silvio Berlusconi convicted of sex with underage prostitute

Silvio Berlusconi convicted of sex with underage prostitute

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Monday, June 24, 2013

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Silvio Berlusconi in 2010.
Image: la-moncloa.es.

Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was convicted today of having sex with an underage prostitute. He has been sentenced to seven years in prison and banned from serving in public office, but does not start his sentence until an appeal process is concluded.

Berlusconi was charged with paying for sex with Karima El Mahroug, a Moroccan-born nightclub dancer who performs under the name ‘Ruby Rubacuori’ — Ruby the Heartstealer. Prosecutors say El Mahroug had sex with Berlusconi when she was aged 17. She denies having sex with Berlusconi. El Mahroug admits having received thousands of euros from Berlusconi.

In addition to the sex charges, Berlusconi was found guilty of abusing his office when dealing with El Mahroug. The court found that in May 2010, Berlusconi put pressure on police officers in Milan to release El Mahroug who had been arrested on suspicion of theft. Berlusconi claims that he telephoned the police but did so on the belief that El Mahroug was related to former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak in order to prevent a diplomatic incident.

Prosecutors alleged that El Mahroug was just one of many women Berlusconi had paid for sex with and that she formed part of “a prostitution system set up for the personal sexual satisfaction of the defendant”.

In May of this year, an Italian appeals court upheld a conviction for tax fraud which Berlusconi is in the process of appealing to the country’s highest appellate court, the Court of Cassation. If the decision is upheld by the higher court, he will be liable to serve four years in prison for the tax fraud offense, where Berlusconi was found to have bought distribution rights for American films and resold them at inflated prices to reduce the tax liability of Mediaset, Berlusconi’s media company which owns the three largest television stations in Italy.

Berlusconi is head of the People of Freedom party, a centre-right party that forms part of Italy’s coalition government.



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October 27, 2012

Former Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi found guilty of fraud

Former Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi found guilty of fraud

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Saturday, October 27, 2012

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Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was yesterday found guilty of tax fraud and sentenced to four years in prison, which was reduced to one year because of a law passed by Mr Berlusconi which aimed to reduce overcrowding of prisons.

Silvio Berlusconi
Image: Presidenza della Repubblica.

The fraud relates to the purchase of television film rights by a company owned by Mr Berlusconi, Mediaset, which the company then re-sold at exaggerated prices. Although sentenced to one year in prison, Mr Berlusconi, 76, might not serve the one-year sentence because there will be two opportunities to appeal the verdict, which may take many years and no prison time is served until after the verdict is confirmed. Mr Berlusconi is also banned for three years from any political office.

The Secretary of Mr Berlusconi’s centre-right People of Freedom party, Angelino Alfano, said the ruling confirmed there was “judicial persecution” against the former prime minister; while according to Antonio Di Pietro, one of Berlusconi’s political rivals, “the truth has been exposed”.

Mr Berlusconi resigned in November from his position as Prime Minister. He has in the past faced several allegations against him, including embezzlement, fraud, and bribery. A separate trial is currently underway in Milan over allegations he paid for sex with an under-age prostitute, Karima el Mahroug.



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Former Italian PM Berlusconi found guilty of fraud

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Saturday, October 27, 2012

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Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was yesterday found guilty of tax fraud and sentenced to four years in prison, which was reduced to one year because of a law passed by Mr Berlusconi which aimed to reduce overcrowding of prisons.

Silvio Berlusconi
Image: Presidenza della Repubblica.

The fraud relates to the purchase of television film rights by a company owned by Mr Berlusconi, Mediaset, which the company then re-sold at exaggerated prices. Although sentenced to one year in prison, Mr Berlusconi, 76, might not serve the one-year sentence because there will be two opportunities to appeal the verdict, which may take many years and no prison time is served until after the verdict is confirmed. Mr Berlusconi is also banned for three years from any political office.

The Secretary of Mr Berlusconi’s centre-right People of Freedom party, Angelino Alfano, said the ruling confirmed there was “judicial persecution” against the former prime minister; while according to Antonio Di Pietro, one of Berlusconi’s political rivals, “the truth has been exposed”.

Mr Berlusconi resigned in November from his position as Prime Minister. He has in the past faced several allegations against him, including embezzlement, fraud, and bribery. A separate trial is currently underway in Milan over allegations he paid for sex with an under-age prostitute, Karima el Mahroug.



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May 3, 2011

World leaders react to death of Osama bin Laden

World leaders react to death of Osama bin Laden

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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

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Cquote1.svg Osama bin Laden suggested that he was operating in the name of Islam, but in reality he makes a mockery of the fundamental values of his own and every other religion. Cquote2.svg

—Angela Merkel

Leaders and officals around the world have issued varied reactions to the announcement that Osama bin Laden has been killed during a U.S. military operation in Pakistan. NATO has insisted it will continue fighting against militants in Afghanistan, and the United Nations said the death of bin Laden marked a “watershed moment in our common global fight against terrorism.”

Announcing that the al-Qaeda leader had been killed by U.S. special forces during a forty-minute raid on a compound in Abbottabad, near the capital Islamabad, U.S. President Barack Obama said it was “a good day for America.” Speaking at a ceremony to celebrate winners of the Medal of Honor, Obama praised the “anonymous heroes” who took part in the operation. He said: “We may not always know their names, we may not always know their stories, but they are always there on the front lines of freedom and we are truly blessed. As commander-in-chief, I could not be prouder of our men and women in uniform.”

Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the chief of NATO, vowed the organization would remain fighting in Afghanistan despite the death of bin Laden. “As terrorism continues to pose a direct threat to our security and international stability, international cooperation remains key and NATO is at the heart of that cooperation,” he said in a statement. “NATO allies and partners will continue their mission to ensure that Afghanistan never again becomes a safe haven for extremism, but develops in peace and security.”

The U.N. and the European Parliament also welcomed the news. Ban Ki-moon, the U.N. secretary general, said: “The death of Osama bin Laden, announced by President Obama last night, is a watershed moment in our common global fight against terrorism. The crimes of al-Qaeda touched most continents, bringing tragedy and loss of life to thousands of men, women and children.”

Barack Obama announces the news that bin Laden had been killed. He said it was “a good day for America.”
Image: White House.

David Cameron, the British Prime Minister, said the news “will be welcomed right across our country” and was a “massive step forward,” but warned the death of bin Laden “does not mark the end of the threat we face from extremist terror.” Italian Prime Minster Silvio Berlusconi said: “This is a great outcome in the fight against evil, in the fight against terrorism, a great outcome for the United States and for all democracies”.

Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, said the killing of bin Laden was a “decisive strike” at al-Qaeda. “At his command and in his name, terror was enforced into many countries against men women and children, Christians as well as Muslims,” she said. “Osama bin Laden suggested that he was operating in the name of Islam, but in reality he makes a mockery of the fundamental values of his own and every other religion.”

Several Asian countries also said bin Laden’s death was a step forward in the war against terrorism. Chinese spokeswoman Jiang Yu said “China has taken note of the announcement. We believe the death of Osama bin Laden is a milestone and a positive development for the international anti-terrorism efforts.” Japan, Malaysia and Singapore also welcomed the news.

Australia pledged not to withdraw forces from Afghanistan after the announcement. “Osama bin Laden declared war on innocent people and today he has paid the price for that declaration,” Julia Gillard, the Prime Minister, said. “The mission in Afghanistan will continue,” she added, saying al-Qaeda “will continue”. Nicolas Sarkozy, the President of France, said bin Laden was a “promoter of the ideology of hatred and was the chief of a terrorist organization responsible for the deaths of thousands of victims, especially in Muslim countries,” and “justice has been done” for the victims of al-Qaeda attacks.



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March 29, 2011

George Clooney to be defence witness in Berlusconi sex case

George Clooney to be defence witness in Berlusconi sex case

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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

George Clooney
Image: Nicolas Genin.

Silvio Berlusconi
Image: Daffy123.

Silvio Berlusconi, the Prime Minister of Italy, has announced he will call US actor George Clooney to testify at his trial.

Berlusconi is accused of having sex with an underage prostitute, Karima El Mahroug, during a party at his villa near Milan. He has denies the charges. The Italian PM is further accused of abusing his power by intervening in a theft that Ms. Mahroug was involved in. Berlusconi attempted to evade the charges by using a recently overturned law that would leave him immune to prosecution.

Mr. Clooney and his partner, Elisabetta Canalis, were said to have been present during the February 14, 2010 party at Mr. Berlusconi’s villa.

The trial is expected to begin on April 6th.


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December 23, 2010

Berlusconi proposes January elections if government fails to gain parliamentary majority

Berlusconi proposes January elections if government fails to gain parliamentary majority

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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Italy
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Silvio Berlusconi has layed foundations for a potential election in Italy early next year. The Prime Minister of Italy said he would consider holding an election if his government failed to have a significant parliamentary majority and is unable to pass reforms by the end of January.

Prime Minister of Italy Silvio Berlusconi
Image: Lorenza e Vincenzo Iaconianni.

Berlusconi only narrowly survived a vote of no confidence in the Italian parliament a week ago, and he is facing a backlash from students over plans to radically reform the university system.

Berlusconi said he had conferred with officials in Lega Nord, his government’s main ally, which has stressed elections are the most promising end to the political crisis in Italy, which began when when a split occurred in Berlusconi’s party, The People of Freedom.

“If, in contrast to what we expect, we do not have a sufficient majority to govern at the end of January, I think that the best thing would be to have the chance to get a fresh majority in both houses of parliament,” Berlusconi told journalists.

However, there is skepticism that even if Berlusconi wanted to hold an election, he would be unable to. President Giorgio Napolitano has insisted dissolving parliament is a last resort. Berlusconi won the vote of no confidence last week by only three votes. The Chamber of Deputies voted to keep Burlusconi in power by 314 votes to 311.

The Prime Minister said he intended to try and persuade those who voted against him to support his government. “There are lots of lawmakers belonging to various political forces who have reasons for dissatisfaction with the groups they belong to,” he said.

The news comes a day after thousands of Italian students mounted a violent protest against proposed, radical reforms of the country’s university system planned by Berlusconi’s administration. Riot police used tear gas on protesters in Palermo; campaigners occupied a rail line in Naples; hundreds of protesters staged a short sit-in in the Mole Antonelliana, a major landmark in Turin, in northern Italy. The students urged President Napolitano to refuse to sign the law.



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August 5, 2010

Italian senate rejects no-confidence vote against minister

Italian senate rejects no-confidence vote against minister

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Thursday, August 5, 2010

Silvio Berlusconi has passed his first test of strength after losing the majority.
Image: Presidenza della Repubblica Italiana.

Silvio Berlusconi has survived a key no-confidence vote against a minister in his cabinet accused of corruption. The vote was the first test of the strength of the Prime Minister’s coalition since the dramatic split with his 16-year ally Gianfranco Fini, which led to the coalition losing the majority.

Yesterday the lower house voted 299 to 229 to reject the no-confidence motion brought against Giacomo Caliendo. Caliendo is a junior minister for justice accused of involvement in a secret cabal that reportedly tried to influence judical and government appointments. His resignation was called for by the opposition but, crucially, it was the abstention of 75 members of the senate, Gianfranco Fini’s rebels, that led to the motion being defeated.

The abstention averted a confrontation between the coalition and the rebels but it can also be seen as a show of strength by the renegades, a way of showing their powerful influence while avoiding a dispute.

Although superficially the motion’s rejection appears to show that the coalition government can still be effective without a majority, The Telegraph‘s website commented that it demonstrates that Fini’s rebels are now in a position to control the outcome of votes in the house, since their support or their abstention can mean the difference between a motion passing or being rejected.

The motion’s defeat also means that the early elections that looked to be on the horizon may be put off. The elections could have been called early due to the rupture in the party but now may be postponed until later this year. Berlusconi’s closest ally Umberto Bossi, head of the Northern League party, said: “This means that we are resisting and that we will not go to the polls for now.” However Interior Minister Roberto Maroni, also of the Northern League party, said yesterday that elections later this year could not be ruled out.

The alleged influence-peddling that junior minister Caliendo is accused of is the same kind of moral and legal issue that has dogged Berlusconi’s government, and the kind of issue that led Fini to lead the break away from the coalition. The Prime Minister may be facing impeachment after Italy’s Constitutional Court overturned a law granting him immunity from prosecution. Even though the defeat of this motion means the coalition has passed the first test of strength, it may not do it much good if the Prime Minister faces prosecution.



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December 14, 2009

Berlusconi to remain in hospital after assault

Filed under: Archived,Crime and law,Europe,Italy,Silvio Berlusconi — admin @ 5:00 am

Berlusconi to remain in hospital after assault

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Monday, December 14, 2009

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2008 File photo of Italian PM Berlusconi
Image: Presidenza della Repubblica.

The Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, is to remain in the San Raffaele Hospital in Milan, following yesterday’s assault which left him with facial damage, two broken teeth, a broken nose and cuts to his lips. The assault on the 73-year-old media mogul came at the end of a political rally where Prime Minister Berlusconi had addressed the assembled crowd.

Berlusconi will now stay in hospital until at least Tuesday, and according to a bulletin released to Italian Media, he is able to eat, but only with difficulty.

He was approached and hit in the face by 42-year-old Massimo Tartaglia, who was carrying a replica of Milan’s Duomo Cathedral at the time, made out of some form of heavy material according to eyewitnesses. Tartaglia is now in police custody, and has been charged with aggravated assault.

The leader of the Northern League, an Italian Far-Right organisation, Umberto Bossi, said what had happened was an “act of terrorism” and described the attack as a “worrying sign”.

In a statement released to the media, Berlusconi’s spokesman, Paolo Bonaiuti, said that “we try to keep him at rest. He would like to re-immerse himself into his frantic activity, but doctors say caution is necessary.”



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December 13, 2009

Prime Minister of Italy Silvio Berlusconi assaulted

Prime Minister of Italy Silvio Berlusconi assaulted

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Sunday, December 13, 2009

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2008 File photo of Italian PM Berlusconi
Image: Presidenza della Repubblica.

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is in San Raffaele Hospital overnight in Milan following an assault during an autograph session at the end of a rally.

The 73 year-old media mogul received a punch in the face from an assailant who police named as 42 year-old Massimo Tartaglia, a local man who has been undergoing mental health treatment for ten years. Tartaglia was holding a replica of Milan’s famous Domo Cathedral as he struck the premier; the composition of the replica is unknown, but eyewitnesses suggest it may have been made from marble, iron or another heavy material.

The assailant is currently in custody at a police station somewhere in Milan; police have confirmed he has no prior criminal record.

The attack on Berlusconi left him requiring treatment for damage to his mouth, a broken nose, cuts to his face and, according to reports from BBC News, at least two broken teeth. He has undergone a precautionary CT Scan. This is not the only attack Berlusconi has received; several years ago a man hit him with a tripod, leaving him with a cut to his forehead.



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October 7, 2009

Italian court overturns law preventing trial of Prime Minister Berlusconi

Italian court overturns law preventing trial of Prime Minister Berlusconi

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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

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Silvio Berlusconi, photographed last year, now faces prosecution

Italy’s Constitutional Court has overturned a law that granted Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi immunity from being prosecuted. There are at least three court cases that can now proceed against him, including a corruption trial.

There had been speculation in the media that Berlusconi would resign if the law was struck down, but a spokesman said “Berlusconi, the government and the majority will continue to govern.” The spokesman went on to call the decision “a political verdict,” and Berlusconi has commented he expected the result because of left-wing leanings by the judges.

The panel of fifteen judges took two days to reach their decision. There is no appeals process to try and save the law, which gave immunity to the Prime Minister, President and two parliamentary speakers for as long as they held office.

Despite suggestions from the PM’s lawyers that he may resign if the ruling went against him, Berlusconi said that “We go ahead,” and that he felt “invigorated” by the ruling. He called the allegations he now faces in court a “real farce”.

The law had halted a trial in Milan that he bribed a UK lawyer for favourable testimony in a separate corruption probe. One of the other two trials he faces involves alleged bribes to senators.

Berlusconi had an earlier version of the law overturned in 2004, and the latest decision rejects another passed last year. The court said it would breach the constitution’s requirement of equality before the law, and added that as a constitutional change required for more legal process than being passed in parliament.

Berlusconi is considering running for President, which would extend his immunity for several more years under other laws. Although his opinion poll support has dropped recently he remains popular, despite allegations of media manipulation and sexual activities with prostitutes and a teenage model. A billionaire businessman, he is the longest-serving Prime Minister since the second world war.



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