Monday, 27 March, 2023

Verdict for Italy's Berlusconi in starlet bribery trial

An Italian court is set to rule Wednesday on whether billionaire ex-prime minister Silvio Berlusconi bribed witnesses to lie about his "bunga bunga" parties in an underage prostitution case.

Milan prosecutors have called for the media magnate, 86, to be jailed for six years for allegedly paying young starlets and others for "silence and lies" about his notoriously hedonistic soirees, which he insists were elegant dinners.

Berlusconi, whose Forza Italia party is a member of Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni's governing coalition, has long been dogged by legal battles, nearly all of which he has won.

A guilty verdict in Milan would be a serious blow for the senator, though his age and fragile health mean he would not serve any time behind bars.

He would also have the right to appeal, meaning a definitive sentence could take years.