Claims over laundering operation cause for suit

MILAN — Mediaset, the TV group controlled by Italo Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, is suing center-left newspaper La Repubblica for claims made about an alleged multimillion-dollar money laundering operation in Switzerland involving senior Mediaset managers.

Berlusconi is already suing the paper in a personal capacity following its coverage of the sex scandals that have plagued the 73-year-old media mogul since the summer.

Swiss magistrates will reportedly open a formal investigation into the managers who are suspected of laundering money linked to overvalued film and TV rights deals in Italy.

It was claimed the probe could help Italian prosecutors who are set to resume tax evasion and corruption cases against Berlusconi, who is now vulnerable to prosecution following the decision by the Italian Constitutional Court to strike down his controversial immunity law.

In a statement on Friday, Mediaset said La Repubblica had made allegations damaging to Mediaset’s reputation that were not backed by any documents.

Mediaset said it had never put aside secret funds in Switzerland or any other country and had ended contact with the managers under investigation.

(Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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