It has been a long five years but if Silvio Berlusconi was feeling the strain of his corruption trial on the eve of the verdict it was not showing. He appeared relaxed at a function in Rome, far away from the court in Milan where three judges are expected to give their ruling today. He has kept his distance throughout the proceedings. “The prime minister works in the interests of the country,” he told reporters, adding that he did not have one minute to spare to attend the trial.
“I’m waiting in absolute serenity. I think I deserve a meddle from this process. I don’t think there’ll be a conviction.” Berlusconi is accused of bribing judges in Rome in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s to win rulings favourable to his Fininvest business empire.
State prosecutors are calling for an eight-year prison term and for the centre-right leader to be banned from public office for life. He denies the charges and says he is the victim of a political motivated witch hunt. Whatever the verdict, it is unlikely to be the end of the matter, with years of appeals in prospect.