Italo prime minister calls lawsuits a 'farce'
Silvio Berlusconi may have lost his Teflon shield but he hasn’t backed off in his braggadocio.Even after Italy’s highest court last week struck down the self-tailored immunity law drafted by the Italo prime minister and media mogul to block several trials against him, Berlusconi boasted he felt “invigorated”by the ruling. Two of the trials center around charges of a scheme in the 1990s to falsify the acquisition cost of TV rights on volume deals with U.S. studios, including Paramount, via offshore companies in order to pay less taxes and create a slush fund. Besides tax evasion and fraud, Berlusconi is also indicted of bribing U.K. tax lawyer David Mills to the tune of $600,000 to lie on his behalf in court about the alleged slush fund. Both Berlusconi and Mills claim innocence. The conservative Berlusconi, who claims he is a victim of leftist prosecutors, also called the trials a “farce”and has vowed to keep his post. But experts say having to spend so much time in court will put a strain on the mogul politician’s ability to govern and could lead to early elections. While Mediaset itself has long been weathering legal woes, it could also feel the added impact of increased regulatory scrutiny.