A Milan appeals court has cleared former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi of corruption charges, in a case concerning a 1980s privatisation deal. Berlusconi was accused of bribing judges to block the sale of food group SME to a rival businessman. But at the end of the re-trial the presiding judge said, “The crime does not exist and he did not commit them.”
One of Berlusconi’s defence team lawyers, Niccolo Ghedini, said, “The facts do not exist. He’s not committed them. It’s a verdict that brings justice to a difficult trial, that’s deeply determined the political story of this country.” The Forza Italia leader was previously acquitted in 2004, but a law introduced by his government blocking a re-trial was found to be unconstitutional – giving prosecutors the green light. Berlusconi is also being tried for allegedly paying British lawyer David Mills a 440,000 euro kickback for withholding incriminating details about him.