Berlusconi firm fined 560 mn euros in bribery appeal: ANSA

Silvio Berlusconi
Milan, Jul 9: A Milan court ordered Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi's Fininvest company today to pay rival media group CIR 560 million euros after it bribed a judge to approve a company takeover.

The Milan appeals court reduced by a quarter the original 750-million-euro damages claim that a civil court had ordered the holding company to pay in October 2009.

This was compensation for Fininvest wresting control of the leading Mondadori publishing house from Compagnie Industriali Riunite (CIR) in 1990.

A judge ruled in 2009 that Berlusconi was "co-responsible" for the bribery of a judge who decided in favour of Fininvest in the takeover battle.

The judge was convicted of corruption in 2007 and sentenced to two years and nine months in prison, while the Fininvest lawyer who bribed him was given a sentence of one year and six months.

CIR, whose honorary president is Berlusconi rival Carlo de Benedetti, controlled the newsweekly L'Espresso and the left-leaning daily newspaper La Repubblica, both avid chroniclers of the sex scandals that have been dogging the Italian premier.

In an appeal by Fininvest, appeals judges today adjusted the fine and ruled that the damages incurred by CIR amounted to 540 million euros as at the date of the initial judgment, and a total 560 million with interest.

"Our advocates are looking into a further appeal," the prime minister's daughter and Fininvest president Marina Berlusconi said after the ruling.

"We are convinced we are in the right, we will not let ourselves be intimidated," she said while denouncing the damages figure as "double the value of Fininvest''s stake in Mondadori". 


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