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M. Berlusconi upped to chair

Media mogul's daughter elected Tuesday

HOLLYWOOD — Italo prime minister and media mogul Silvio Berlusconi’s daughter Marina has been upped to chairman of Fininvest, the holding firm for the family’s multimedia empire, sparking claims the P.M. is strengthening his hand ahead of national elections in May.

Marina Berlusconi was elected at a shareholders’ meeting Tuesday, which expanded the board of directors from seven to eight.

Her promotion was expected: She had been deputy to previous chairman Aldo Bonomi, who died Aug. 31.

Filling the new seat on the board and the one opened by Bonomi’s death will be Silvio Berlusconi’s economic adviser Bruno Ermolli, and Salvatore Sciascia, the prime minister’s tax lawyer.

Fininvest, one of Italy’s biggest firms with an estimated value of €17 billion ($20.2 billion), includes TV group Mediaset, advertising arm Publitalia 80, theatrical arm Medusa, publisher Mondadori and the AC Milan soccer club.

Fininvest lies at the center of accusations that Berlusconi has a conflict between his business and political interests. The left-wing opposition blames the tycoon’s sway over Italy’s media for his 2001 election victory.

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