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Italy: Top appeals court acquits Berlusconi in tax fraud case

last update: March 07, 11:19

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Rome, 7 March (AKI) - Italy's highest appeals court late Wednesday acquitted former premier Silvio Berlusconi and his son Pier Silvio of alleged fraud over inflated prices for television rights involving his Mediaset media company.

The Court of Cassation also cleared Berlusconi's eldest son Pier Silvio and nine other defendants of defrauding Italy's inland revenue of 20 million euros through allegedly inflated invoices amounting to 220 million euros.

The court did not give the reasoning behind its ruling, which in the Italian legal system is typically issued several weeks later.

Berlusconi had always denied any wrongdoing over the so-called Mediatrade case.

Berlusconi is appealing a conviction last year for tax fraud and is currently on trial in Milan for abuse of office and paying a juvenile prostitute - a teenage Moroccan belly dancer - in the so-called 'Ruby' case.

Under his leadership, place in the Feb. 24-25 national elections.

He is currently appealing a four-year prison sentence cut to one year and a five-year ban from public office handed to him by a court October 2012.

That case involved a involving a scheme to purchase of rights to broadcast US movies on Berlusconi's private TV networks at inflated prices via a series of offshore companies

The appeals trial was suspended during Italy's February elections in which the centre-right coalition led by Berlusconi came second.

The 76-year-old billionaire and media tycoon who has served as Italy's prime minister four times since 1994 has stood trial more than 30 times but has never received a definitive conviction. Trials often timed out under Italy's statute of limitations or were overturned on appeal.

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