Berlusconi request OK’d

Politicos opposing law say it weakens fight against terrorism

MILAN — After three days of fierce political wrangling, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s center-right coalition succeeded in getting final parliamentary approval Wednesday for a controversial law that will make it harder for magistrates to gain financial information from abroad.

Opposition forces in Parliament maintain the law will weaken the battle against terrorism and the Mafia, and could affect several pending trials against the billionaire prime minister, including one related to the bribery of judges.

The opposition parties accused the media magnate of putting his interests ahead of the battle against terrorism launched after the Sept. 11 attacks in the U.S.

This is not the new Italian Parliament’s first controversial decision. Last week it approved a law that decriminalized false bookkeeping — a law that could force magistrates to drop two other cases against Berlusconi.

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