Friday, July 13, 2007

Italy: Italian court upholds corruption conviction for Berlusconi associate

Silvio Berlusconi & Cesare Previti

Reports: Italian court upholds corruption conviction for Berlusconi associate

The Associated Press
Friday, July 13, 2007

ROME: Italy's top criminal court on Friday upheld a corruption conviction in February against Cesare Previti, a former defense minister and close associate of ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi, Italian news reports said.

The Court of Cassation upheld the appeals' court sentence of 18 months in jail for Previti, as well as prison sentences for two lawyers and a judge, news agencies ANSA and Apcom reported.

Prosecutors accused Previti and the lawyers of corrupting the judge so he would overturn a ruling that had gone in favor of industrialist Carlo De Benedetti and against Berlusconi for control of the publishing giant Mondadori.

Due to the ruling in Berlusconi's favor, Mondadori is now part of the media empire owned by the magnate-turned-politician.

Previti has always denied wrongdoing. Calls to his lawyers were not answered late Friday.

Previti, who is in his seventies, has spent time on house arrest for a previous conviction in a separate corruption case. He is currently entrusted to social services, but judges could order him back to house arrest due to the Cassation's ruling, ANSA said.

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