From ‘Bunga Bunga’ parties with under age sex slaves to tax evasion to abuse of his media empire for personal political gain and promoting conservative causes, it’s easy to forget among the mountain of corruption and scandal that former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is not just the face of Fascism as surely as Benito Mussolini, but a pathetic weasel and bully.
Berlusconi ordered to stand trial for bribing senator
By Amalia De Simone, Reuters
Wed Oct 23, 2013 1:16pm EDT
Silvio Berlusconi was ordered to stand trial for corruption on Wednesday, in a fresh legal blow to the former Italian prime minister following his conviction for tax fraud in August and a string of other cases.
Naples prosecutors accuse Berlusconi of bribing Sergio De Gregorio, a former senator in the small Italy of Values party, to switch allegiance as part of an attempt to bring down the center-left government of former Prime Minister Romano Prodi in 2006.
De Gregorio, who has admitted receiving 3 million euros ($4.13 million) from Berlusconi and attempting to persuade other senators to change sides, was sentenced to 20 months in jail after plea bargaining.
Berlusconi’s legal battles have come close to destroying Italy’s fragile government of left and right, built around an unwieldy alliance between Prime Minister Enrico Letta’s center-left Democratic Party (PD) and Berlusconi’s PDL.
Letta survived a confidence motion earlier this month after center-right rebels forced Berlusconi to retreat from a bid to bring down the coalition, but tensions have continued between hardline Berlusconi loyalists and both the PD and PDL moderates who support the government.
The Senate is expected to vote on stripping Berlusconi of his seat in the upper house under a law banning convicted criminals from parliament.
It is not yet clear when that vote will be held and whether it will come before a separate court ruling banning Berlusconi from holding public office for two years takes effect.
As well as the tax fraud sentence and the latest trial, Berlusconi is also fighting a separate conviction for paying for sex with a minor and abuse of office in the now-notorious “bunga bunga” case involving former teenaged nightclub dancer Karima El Mahroug, alias “Ruby the Heartstealer”. He has appealed a seven year prison sentence handed down in June.