Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has launched a fresh attack on the judiciary as he made his latest court appearance in Milan on Monday.
This was a preliminary hearing on tax fraud and embezzlement charges. Separately he is also accused of sex offences in the “Rubygate” case.
Outside the court Berlusconi welcomed news of Osama bin Laden’s death as “a great result in the fight against evil, in the fight against terrorism”.
He complained at being obliged to spend the morning in court on such an occasion.
“For sure it’s a democracy that does not go in the right direction, when its premier has to undergo the humiliation of spending hours in a courtroom in order to respond to charges that are pure invention, while there are such important international events,” said the PM.
Berlusconi and others including his son are accused of diverting millions of euros from TV rights from his media empire into secret political slush funds.
They deny all charges.
The trial comes two weeks before important local elections likely to test how badly the ruling centre-right has been damaged by the cases.