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Berlusconi faces call to stand trial

Allegations made against Mediaset boss

MILAN — Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian Prime Minister and controller of the Mediaset broadcast empire, faced demands on Wednesday that he stand trial, after a Milan court published its account of how he had paid a former colleague to lie under oath.

The 376-page dossier said that Brit lawyer David Mills accepted $600,000 from Berlusconi to “act as a false witness” in two trials in 1997 and 1998, to help Berlusconi and his Fininvest holding company evade taxes relating to the purchase of U.S. film rights.

Berlusconi, who continues to deny the charge, said the report, and the court’s decision to sentence Mills to four and a half years, were “scandalous.” Berlusconi is immune from prosecution under changes to the law he introduced.

He vowed, however, to make a statement to the Italian parliament. This drew further derision from political opponents who said the chamber should not be used as a sounding board, and called on him to stand trial or resign.

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