Sunday, July 10, 2011

Berlusconi firm fined S$975 mn euros in bribery appeal

Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi gestures as he addresses supporters during a campaign rally in Naples, Italy, Friday, May 13, 2011. -- PHOTO: AP

MILAN - A MILAN appeals court on Saturday ordered Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's holding company Fininvest to pay 560 million euros (S$975.3 million) to rival media group CIR in a bribery case, a judge told the ANSA news agency.

In October 2009, a Milan civil court ruled that Compagnie Industriali Riunite (CIR) was entitled to 750 million euros in compensation from Fininvest which wrested control of the leading Mondadori publishing house from CIR in 1990.

A judge ruled at the time that Mr Berlusconi was 'co-responsible' for the bribery of a judge who decided in favour of Fininvest in the takeover battle.

CIR, whose honorary president is Berlusconi rival Carlo de Benedetti, controlled the newsweekly L'Espresso and the left-leaning daily newspaper La Repubblica, both avid chroniclers of the sex scandals that have been dogging the Italian premier.

Appeals judges ruled on Saturday that the damages incurred by Fininvest amounted to 540 million euros as at the date of the initial judgment, and a total 560 million with interest, ANSA said. -- AFP

Karima El Mahrough, nicknamed Ruby, smiles in Milan, Italy. -- PHOTO: AP

ROME - DOZENS of naked women surround the Italian prime minister vying with each other to arouse him - Silvio Berlusconi's 'bunga bunga' parties as reportedly described to prosecutors by a key participant.

'After dinner we went into a hall in the basement where the bunga bunga was held,' Karima El Mahroug, a pole dancer nicknamed 'Ruby the Heart Stealer', was quoted as saying to investigators in leaks published by La Repubblica daily. 

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