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B’sconi scorns hearing

Says legal proceedings are invalid

MILAN — Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian media tycoon and leader of the center-right opposition party, failed to show Wednesday before Milan magistrates anxious to question him regarding the alleged bribing of judges and the creation of illegal slush funds, judicial sources said.

Berlusconi said he refused to be questioned because Milan magistrates are always plotting against him and his holding company Fininvest.

Holding out

“They do not want me to appear in front of them; they just want me to disappear from the political arena,” he said. He also said his lawyers will request that the high court, in the next few days, move inquiries and trials regarding him and his company away from Milan and appoint a new court elsewhere in Italy.

This time Berlusconi was summoned for questioning about charges much more serious than the ones for which he was sentenced last week to 16 months in jail, which he will not serve under an Italian law that suspends most prison terms under two years.

Medusa deal in question

Last week, the Milan court found him guilty of falsifications of accounts, related to the acquisition in 1988 of film distribution company Medusa Cinematografica.

This time, Milan prosecutors are trying to demonstrate that Fininvest paid billions of lire to Rome judges in order to obtain favorable verdicts in trials regarding Fininvest activities.

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