Court acquits Berlusconi in Bunga Bunga bribe case

Court acquits Berlusconi in Bunga Bunga bribe case
Опубликовано: Wednesday, 15 February 2023 14:15

Italian government allies react with delight at former PM’s acquittal.


Controversial former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was acquitted Wednesday morning of corruption charges in an underage prostitution case due to lack of evidence.

Forza Italia leader Berlusconi, a key figure in Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s right-wing government, was accused of bribing 24 witnesses — who attended so-called Bunga Bunga parties at his villa in Rome — to provide false testimony in a previous trial in which he was charged with paying for sex with an underage prostitute, a 17-year-old Moroccan nightclub dancer. He was ultimately acquitted in that case.

Berlusconi was not present at Wednesday’s hearing. He was represented in the courtroom by lawyer Federico Cecconi who said he was “enormously satisfied: three out of three,” referring to Berlusconi’s previous acquittals in other Bunga Bunga party cases.

Another 28 co-defendants, many of them young women accused of accepting bribes, were also all acquitted by the court.

Berlusconi’s government allies reacted with delight at the verdict.

Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini from the League party said he was “happy for the acquittal of Silvio after years of suffering, insults and useless controversy.” Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani, a Forza Italia colleague, also expressed his joy, saying he had no doubt about Berlusconi’s innocence.

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