Mediaset chairman, Berlusconi son both indicted

A Milan court ruled Tuesday against indicting Silvio Berlusconi in a tax fraud case centered around multimillion-dollar Hollywood movie rights purchased by the Italian premier and media mogul’s Mediaset TV empire.

But the court did indict Berlusconi’s son, Mediaset VP Pier Silvio Berlusconi, as well as Mediaset chairman Fedele Confalonieri and nine other defendants in the so-called Mediatrade case.

The long-simmering case centers around an alleged scheme to inflate the price of TV rights to a large volume of U.S. movies bought by Mediaset’s Mediatrade unit from Hollywood studios, including Paramount and Fox, via offshore companies, evading tax and creating a slush fund.

The trial is set to start Dec. 22 in Milan.

Milan magistrate Maria Vicidomini ruled that Silvio Berlusconi had not committed an offense. In a statement Mediaset said the trial will also prove the innocence of Berlusconi fils, Confalonieri and the other defendants.

Silvio Berlusconi’s legal woes are now lighter, though he still faces three trials in Milan on charges including corruption, tax fraud and accusations that he paid for sex with an underage girl.

Berlusconi, who has proclaimed his innocence in all three active cases and claimed to be a victim of politically motivated prosecutors, has faced 25 trials since becoming a pol in 1994 but has been acquitted or let off because the statute of limitations expired.

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