'Bribe-accused' Berlusconi says he is the best Prime Minister Italy can have

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Rome, Oct. 10 (ANI): Even as Silvio Berlusconi declared that he is the best Prime Minister that Italy can have today, a Milan court was told it had been "amply demonstrated" that he was guilty of bribery.

"I am, and not only in my own opinion, the best prime minister who could be found today. I believe there is no one in history to whom I should feel inferior. Quite the opposite."

"The problem is that...in absolute terms, I am the most legally persecuted man of all times, in the whole history of mankind, worldwide, because I have been subjected to more than 2,500 court hearings and I have the good luck - having worked well in the past and having accumulated an important wealth - to have been able to spend more than €200m in consultants and judges. I mean in consultants and lawyers," The Guardian quoted him, as saying.

His statements came on the heels of Milan's chief prosecutor Laura Bertole responding to an appeal launched by Berlusconi's former legal adviser, David Mills, against his conviction for accepting a bribe from the TV magnate in the 1990s.

Bertole told the judge that Mills had "first confessed, then retracted, indicating witnesses who have contradicted his words...his version of events".

In February, Mills was found guilty of accepting a 600,000 dollars bribe for distorting his evidence in Berlusconi's favour.

Under Italian law, defendants are allowed up to two appeals that must be held before charges are extinguished by a statute of limitations that, in this case, would come into effect next April, the paper reports.

The speed with which the first appeal court intends to dispatch its business should not only worry Mills, but also for Berlusconi, it adds.

Although the case against him is likely to be timed out before a conclusion is reached, a definitive conviction of his former co-defendant would mean that Berlusconi was equally guilty of having bribed him. (ANI)

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