The son of Italian Prime Minister and Mediaset controller Silvio Berlusconi is also under investigation for tax fraud, it has emerged.
Magistrates say they have dug up evidence that Piersilvio Berlusconi was involved in the scam with his father and senior Mediaset managers to create overseas slush funds from the purchase of film rights from Hollywood for Mediaset’s three channels.
Berlusconi fils, the VP of Mediaset, dismissed the suggestions on Saturday as “hateful and absurd” and a “pretext for attacking my father.”
The probe is an offshoot of the tax fraud case involving the Prime Minister, which has recently restarted after a court struck down a law giving senior state officials immunity from prosecution.
Last week it emerged that Hollywood studio executives could be called to testify in the main case in the coming months.
The case pertaining to Piersilvio Berlusconi concerns tax evasion to the tune of €8 million ($11.3 million), according to the Italian news agency Ansa.
Prosecutors must now ask a judge to issue indictments if they think they have enough evidence.
Italian daily Corriere della Sera reported on Sunday that Milan magistrates Sergio Spadaro and Fabio de Pasquale were “convinced” they had uncovered a system, which since the 1980s, has seen Berlusconi’s holding company Fininvest and subsequently his broadcast group Mediaset, register inflated costs for the purchase of film rights, particularly from Paramount, in order to divert millions of euros to slush funds in Switzerland and Hong Kong.
In a statement on Saturday, Mediaset insisted it had maintained complete transparency and legality in its tax affairs. The Prime Minister has also denied all charges against him.