Trials and allegations involving Silvio Berlusconi
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Silvio Berlusconi has an extensive record of criminal allegations, including mafia collusion, false accounting, tax fraud, corruption and bribery of police officers and judges. Berlusconi has been tried in Italian courts in several cases. In three of these cases accusations were dropped by the judiciary because of laws passed by Berlusconi's parliamentary majority shortening the time limit for prosecution of various offences and making false accounting illegal only if there is a specific damaged party reporting the fact to the authorities. In all of them, but one, either he was acquitted by a court of first instance or on appeal, or charges were dropped because the statute of limitations had expired. Therefore he has not been sentenced up to now, despite having been found guilty of providing false testimony in 1990. Berlusconi claimed that "this is a manifest judicial persecution, against which I am proud to resist, and the fact that my resistance and sacrifice will give the Italians a more fair and efficient judicial system makes me even more proud", and added that "789 prosecutors and magistrates took an interest in the politician Berlusconi from 1994 to 2006 with the aim of subverting the votes of the Italian people" citing statistics that he said have constituted a "calvary including 577 visits by police, 2,500 court hearings and 174 million euros in lawyers' bills paid by me". Berlusconi has always been able to afford top lawyers, for example Nicolas Sarkozy was one of his French top advocates. Some of his former prosecutors later joined the parliamentary opposition. Some of his attorneys are also members of parliament.
Completed trials 
False testimony on Propaganda 2 : guilty, but subject to amnesty 
In 1990 Berlusconi was convicted of perjury by the appeal court of Venice in his affiliation to the freemason lodge "Propaganda 2", commonly known as "P2"; however the court did not proceed to sentence him because the wrongdoing had been extinguished by an amnesty passed in 1989.
External relationship in mafia association 
The Court of Palermo investigated Silvio Berlusconi and his associate Marcello Dell'utri, on the charge of external partnership with Mafia associations and money laundering. Nine years later the trial ended with a sentence of 9 years imposed on Marcello Dell'Utri and the acquittal of Silvio Berlusconi.
Massacres of 1992–1993 (archived for expiry of investigative deadline) 
The Court of Florence and Caltanissetta investigated Silvio Berlusconi's connection with the Sicilian Mafia. He was accused of connections with the people responsible for the massacres of 1992 (Capaci and via D'Amelio) where two prosecuting magistrates, involved in the Mafia trial known as "Maxi-processo" of the 1980s, Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino were brutally murdered.
Bribing a member of the Financial Police : not proven and statute of limitations 
First Court: sentenced to jail (2 years and 9 months) for four bribes.
Appeal court: statute of limitations.
According to Italian law, the "statute of limitations" does not imply innocence but acquits the accused from any further legal proceeding; it may in fact indicate guilt if the statute of limitations is applied after conceding benefits for previous good conduct, since such benefits can only be granted after guilt is ascertained, as per: Corte di Cassazione, Sect. IV, Sentence no. 5069, 21 May 1996 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).
Illegal financing of a political party on All Iberian 1 : statute of limitations 
Court of First Instance: 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".
Court of Appeal: the statute of limitations expired before the appeal was completed so Silvio Berlusconi was acquitted.
False accounting on Medusa Cinema : 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).
Bribing a judge on Lodo Mondadori : statute of limitations 
First court: A Prima facie case was issued, but the magistrate decided to drop the charges. The state attorney refused to file the case and appealed against the ruling.
Appeal Court: statute of limitations expired before the appeal was completed so Silvio Berlusconi was acquitted.
False accounting on All Iberian 2 : not guilty (law changed) 
First Court: on 26 September 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. This new law was passed by Berlusconi's parliamentary majority after the beginning of the trial, and was claimed by the opposition to be an ad personam law, i.e. aimed at acquitting Berlusconi.
False accounting on Fininvest Media Group Consolidated : statute of limitations 
Allegation: 750 million euro of illegal (black market) 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.
Embezzlement, tax fraud and false accounting on Macherio estates : 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.
False accounting on Lentini affair : not guilty (law changed) 
Allegation: 5 million euros paid secretly to Torino football club for buying the player Gianluigi Lentini bringing him to AC Milan.
First court: The statute of limitations expired due to the new laws on false accounting approved by Berlusconi's government, therefore the case was closed with an acquittal on 4 July 2002.
False accounting, embezzlement and tax fraud on Mediaset television and cinema rights : not proven 
Silvio 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 21 November 2006. The court acquitted Berlusconi, giving him the benefit of the doubt (not proven).
Corrupting a judge and false accounting on SME-Ariosto : 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, therefore this immunity act was declared unconstitutional and the trial resumed. After 12 years of trial, Silvio Berlusconi was acquitted on 27 April 2007, because of art.530 comma 2 ("He didn't' commit the fact", i.e. full acquittal).
Tax fraud on Telecinco : not guilty 
Silvio 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.
Country flights 
On 3 June 2009, Silvio Berlusconi was charged Roman prosecutor Giovanni Ferrara with abuse of office for using government-funded flights for personal use.
Trani Episode 
Silvio Berlusconi has been signed in the register of suspects, for some telephone interceptions where "he forced the director of a tv channel, to close the tv political program Annozero" as said by the magistrate Michele Ruggiero.
Investigation of Milan 
In October 2010, Silvio Berlusconi and his son Piersilvio were investigated in connection with false financial statements.
Child prostitution : Rubygate 
Silvio Berlusconi was investigated for a reference about a sexual relationship with the teenager El Mahroug, who is called "Ruby Rubacuori" in Italy. The trial is ongoing as of November 2011.
Abuse of office 
In February 2012, Milan prosecutors charged Berlusconi with abuse of office in connection with the publication of wiretapped conversations in the Italian newspaper Il Giornale, which is owned by Berlusconi's brother, in 2005.
Perjury, 1990 
Conviction set aside under 1989 amnesty.
Illegal financing of a political party, 1997 
Conviction set aside because the statute of limitations expired before Berlusconi exhausted all appeals.
Tax Fraud, 2012 
On October 26, 2012 Silvio Berlusconi was convicted of tax fraud in an Italian court and was sentenced to four years' imprisonment. He was also banned from running for public office for a five-year term.
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- According to Italian law, the "statute of limitations" does not imply innocence but acquits the accused from any further legal proceeding; it may in fact indicate guilt if the statute of limitations is applied after conceding benefits for previous good conduct, since such benefits can only be granted after guilt is ascertained, as per: Corte di Cassazione, Sect. IV, Sentence no. 5069, 21 May 1996
- "All Iberian, Berlusconi acquitted. "False accounting is not a wrongdoing anymore"". Repubblica.it. Retrieved 11 September 2011.
- (Italian) http://ricerca.repubblica.it/repubblica/archivio/repubblica/2002/07/05/caso-lentini-reati-prescritti.html
- "Three reasons Silvio Berlusconi might never see prison". Washington Post. 26 October 2012. Retrieved 26 October 2012.