Silvio Berlusconi and 21-year old Roman Lavinia Palombini and a furious Francesca Pascale
28 February, 2016
[June 21 $6.3 billion from Italy shipped to China for sneakers ]
More than 4.5 billion euros ($6.3 billion) in proceeds from counterfeiting, prostitution, labour exploitation and tax evasion had been sent to China in less than four years though a money-transfer service called Money2Money. Close to half the €4.5bn, transferred between 2007 and 2010, went through Bank of China branch in Milan. The Bank of China received €758,000 in commission for the transfers. The bank had an exclusive contract with Money2Money. Investigators said they got nowhere when they tried to appeal to Chinese authorities for help. Once the money left Italy, it vanished behind China’s great legal firewall. The case is now stalled in Italian courts, as prosecutors try to notify nearly 300 hard-to-find defendants, most of them Chinese. Prosecutors in Florence have filed a 170-page document to be reviewed by a judge, who will decide whether to file formal charges.
Money laundered through Money2Money was used to buy counterfeit goods in China, which were then smuggled back to Europe, a large import-export firm called the Wenzhou Cereals Oils and Foodstuffs Foreign Trade Corporation, sent tens of thousands of fake Converse sneakers to the United States and Croatia is suspected.
[March 12 Silvio Berlusconi’s acquittal in “bunga bunga” final – Francesca thumbs up]
The Rome court Corte Suprema di Cassazione, in a ruling that is now definitive, rejected an appeal by Milan prosecutors to overturn the acquittal and to hold a new trial. It upheld Silvio Berlusconi’s acquittal in his infamous “bunga bunga” case.
[February 12 Berlusconi raises 392 million euros ($447 million)]
– Fininvest, the holding company controlled by the family of former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi ,78 years (September 29, 1936), said February 12 it will sell a 7.8% stake in broadcaster Mediaset SpA.. The firm controls a 30% stake in bank Mediolanum , a 50% stake in publishing firm Mondadori and will continue to be the largest investor in Mediaset, with a 33.4% stake. It also controls soccer team A.C. Milan and other activities. But both Mediaset and Mondadori have been struggling with their finances.
The stake is worth 392 million euros ($447 million) at February 12’s closing price. Fininvest said the profits from the sale could also contribute to “investments aimed at portfolio diversification.” In 2005 the company had cut its stake in Mediaset to 34.3 percent from 51 percent.
[February 6 Berlusconi good behavior allows a higher-profile role]
Silvio Berlusconi will not have to serve the final 45 days of a one-year community service on good behaviour grounds. Berlusconi will also regain his freedom of movement, which was restricted under the order, enabling him to resume a higher-profile role in national politics, despite still being banned from public office.
In a trial in Bari this week, businessman Gianpaolo Tarantini and six other people are charged with having promoted prostitution because, between 2008 and 2009, they organised for 26 different young women to attend parties in various Berlusconi residences.
To a certain extent, this trial involves a replay of the infamous Rubygate trial which in June 2013 found Mr Berlusconi guilty of “abuse of office” and having underage sex with Karim “Ruby” El Mahroug, then aged 17.
That judgment was later overturned by a January 2014 appeal court ruling which acquitted the media tycoon.
At issue then and now is the exact nature of Mr Berlusconi’s parties. Were they, as his defence always claimed, “elegant dinner parties” or were they, as various participants have reported, “bunga, bunga” nights of multiple sexual encounters?
Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia party appeared in disarray after the vote for President on January 31, a political victory for Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.. Berlusconi ordered his party to cast blank ballots after accusing Renzi of betraying what he said was a promise to give him a role in choosing the candidate. Instead, more than 30 refused, opening a wound in the party.
[December 31 Passion spent: Francesca Pascale, in Madrid, to study languages, Berlusconi in Arcore]
All is not well between the media mogul and Francesca Pascale, a former shop assistant and member of the Berlusconi fan club.The couple spent Christmas apart, with Mr Berlusconi at his principal home, Villa San Martino in Arcore. Ms Pascale, meanwhile, was settling into her a new apartment in Madrid, where she hopes to study languages. His legal travails continue as he faces charges of inducing a pimp to commit perjury and of bribing a senator to swap sides in parliament, which he denies.
[September 24 Berlusconi redux, tax case appeal granted]
The European Court of Human Rights has agreed to hear an appeal by former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi against his conviction for tax fraud in August 2013, to examine Berlusconi’s argument that he had been denied a fair trial in the case. A date had been set for the appeal to begin.
Rome, August 6 – Former premier Silvio Berlusconi met August 6 with Premier Matteo Renzi to discuss reforms to Italy’s discredited electoral law, now being debated in parliament. The session in the premier’s office marked the third such meeting between Berlusconi, head of the center-right Forza Italia (FI) political party, and Renzi, who leads the center-left Democratic Party (PD).
The Prime Minister met with predecessor Silvio Berlusconi August 6 in a bid to rally parliamentary support for his reform bill, which was presented with nearly 8000 amendments on its first day in parliament.
“Italy never got out of the recession. If you look at the figures it has stagnated for years,”.
[July 18 Ruby case overturned: Silvio Berlusconi sentence can be restored on appeal]
A Milan appeals court overturned a conviction of former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi of paying for sex with an underage girl and then abusing his power in trying to cover it up. Italian prosecutors can appeal the July 18 decision to Italy’s highest appeals court. The final decision by the country’s highest appeals court isn’t likely to come before next year.
Mr. Berlusconi—who was then prime minister—phoned a Milan police station asking for information about a Moroccan woman, Karima El Mahroug, an underage nightclub dancer nicknamed Ruby Heart-Stealer, who had been detained for allegedly stealing cash. Ms. El Mahroug has always denied the allegations
The billionaire politician was sentenced to seven years in prison as a result of the guilty verdict last year. Mr. Berlusconi, who was also banned from public office and ousted from Italy’s Senate as a result of the tax fraud conviction, has always denied the charges in the sex case, which dates back to May 2010.
Prosecutors alleged that Mr. Berlusconi pressed the police to release the woman, thus constituting abuse of power. They also argue that Mr. Berlusconi sought to have her released to cover up the fact that he had paid her for sex when she was 17. Berlusconi claims that he never had sex with her and that, anyway, she told him she was twenty-four. He admits that he gave her thousands of euros at the end of her first evening at Arcore, and tens of thousands more later, but insists that these were innocent acts of generosity. He instructed the police to release her from custody, he says, because he thought that she was a niece of the former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, and he wanted to avoid straining diplomatic relations. (Mahroug, who was born in Morocco and grew up in Sicily, is not related to Mubarak.)
Marcello Dell’Utri, 72, landed at Rome’s Fiumicino airport on June 13 accompanied by Interpol officials and was handed over to the Italian police, airport authorities said.
An Italian court has sentenced Dell’Utri, who comes from Sicily, to seven years in jail for acting as a go-between for the mafia and the Milan business elite, including Berlusconi’s companies, from 1974 to 1992.
Lebanon extradited Dell’Utri to Italy on June 13 who fled to Beirut in April just before being found guilty of dealings with the Sicilian mafia.
Shares in Berlusconi’s Mediaset rose 3.5 percent on June 12 after reports that Telefonica (Madrid: TEF.MC – news) would make an offer to buy the Italian broadcaster’s stake in Spanish pay-TV group Digital Plus.
Supreme Court of Cassation in Rome has confirmed the sentence imposed on 72-year-old Marcello Dell’Utri by Palermo’s Court of Appeal in March last year.
The longtime ally of ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi is facing extradition to Italy after his arrest last month on an Interpol warrant in Beirut for allegedly fleeing a likely conviction from the supreme court for Mafia association.
“In the period of time we’re talking about a continuous crime,” said prosecutor Aurelio Galasso. Silvio Berlusconi – Italy’s former Prime Minister and one of the world’s most recognisable politicians – did business with the mafia for nearly two decades via his conduit and former senator Marcello Dell’Utri. Judges sentenced Dell’Utri to seven years for mafia association. Three-time premier Berlusconi, 77, has always denied rumours that mob links were behind the large and opaquely sourced investments used to kickstart his construction and media businesses in the 1970s and 1980s. But Supreme Court judges accepted prosecutor Aurelio Galasso’s claim that “for 18 years, from 1974 to 1992, Marcello Dell’Utri was the guarantor of the agreement between Berlusconi and Cosa Nostra”.
Former Prime Minister and current friend Francesca Pascale
In the first sentence against him ever confirmed by Italy’s highest court, former Premier Silvio Berlusconi must spend at least four hours a week in the service of the elderly to repay society for his tax fraud convictionBerlusconi was sentenced to four years for tax fraud, reduced to one year for a general amnesty. The one-year community service order may eventually be reduced by 45 days.
The state prosecutor supported the petition for community service, but asked the court to consider revoking it if Berlusconi insults judges while serving — something he has frequently done as he has fought numerous prosecutions over the years, mostly related to his business dealings.
The media mogul is on trial for political corruption in Naples and under investigation in Milan for witness tampering in trials relating to sex-fueled parties at his villa near Milan. His appeals trial for a conviction for having paid for sex with a minor and using his influence to cover it up is scheduled to open in June. He was sentenced to seven years in jail and given a lifetime political ban, but that has yet to be confirmed.
[December 4 2013]
Italian Finance Minister Fabrizio Saccomanni says the sidelining of the longtime conservative leader leaves the government led by Prime Minister Enrico Letta “more cohesive and…more determined in the implementation of our program.”
Mr. Berlusconi—whose threats earlier this fall to bring down the Letta government made it exceedingly hard for the young coalition to govern—was stripped of his Senate seat because of a conviction for tax fraud.
Mr. Letta is under intense pressure to step up the pace of reforms aimed at freeing up Italy’s sclerotic economy.
The premier is hoping the government will survive until 2015, giving it time to cut taxes, ease labor laws and lower unemployment.
Mr. Saccomanni said Italy’s economy is slowly on the mend after what he described as a “deep depression.” The Italian economy has contracted for nine quarters in a row, and the government expects little more than anemic growth next year.
With a stronger majority in Parliament, the government should “operate with a more medium-term perspective than the one we have been obliged to have until now,” .
After months in which the Letta government teetered on the brink of collapse, European policy makers have publicly fretted over the ability of Rome to enact serious overhauls and keep its debt—currently more than 130% of gross domestic product—under control. Some regard chronic instability in Italy, the euro one’s third-largest economy, as the major threat to the currency bloc.
EU Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn said that Italy has “no margins [to] maneuver.” He also expressed skepticism as to whether Mr. Letta’s government would manage, for instance, to achieve its ambitious privatization program.
Italian Senators will vote on November 27 on whether to expel center-right leader Silvio Berlusconi from parliament following his conviction for tax fraud, officials from the main parties said on Tuesday.
Italian ex-PM Silvio Berlusconi has been ordered to stand trial for the alleged bribery of a senator.
Berlusconi is accused of paying the left-wing senator 3m euros ($3.9m) to defect to his party in 2006 and help bring down the government.
The senator, Sergio De Gregorio, was sentenced to 20 months on October 23 at a plea bargain hearing in Naples.
The Court of Appeal of Milan ruled on October 19 that former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi should be barred from holding public office for two years following a conviction for tax fraud.
However, since Berlusconi is a senator, the court’s decision will have no immediate effect and his expulsion from the Senate will depend on a separate vote in the upper house of parliament, expected to take place next month.
Bulgarian actress, producer and director Michelle Bonev has described her nights at his Arcore home. “This is how it works. At the end of the party, each girl has a request to make to him because she came to get something – a part in a film, a python handbag, a… to pay the rent, the electricity, the gas. He would stay in the room. We all went out and sat on the sofas. Then he would listen to what we wanted, one by one like the godfather”
The appellate court was ordered by Italy’s highest court to determine the length of the political ban accompanying his tax fraud conviction and four-year jail term after prosecutors conceded sentencing errors in the original five-year ban.
Prime minister Enrico Letta, the centre-left leader of the government won the Italian senate confidence vote with a sweeping majority. Only 70 of 305 MPs voted against; 235 MPs voted for. Berlusconi – the man who triggered the crisis and spent days clamouring for the government’s downfall – was one of them. Berlusconi been forced into a humiliating climbdown by a rebel faction of his own MPs, 32 senators voting with their leader, 24 absenting themselves, and 25 against him. He is scheduled for expulsion from the senate and the enforcement of his commuted one-year sentence, at the moment.
“In the end it’s all up to the PDL, I think there’s a deep debate taking place within the PDL.” Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta
20 senators of Berlusconi’s People of Liberty, or PDL, are ready to form a breakaway group if the ex-premier doesn’t back down on his confrontation with Letta, perhaps. Letta needs 24 votes in the Senate to secure a new majority without Berlusconi. To do so, the 47-year-old premier must win over opposition lawmakers or convince members of Berlusconi’s People of Liberty party to abandon their leader.
Silvio Berlusconi was forced from office at the height of the euro zone debt crisis in November 2011. 54th Prime Minister of Italy Mario Monti ‘s efforts to deregulate services and labor laws were squashed by the parties that propped up his government before Italians gave him a resounding thumbs down at an election in February 2013 which produced no clear winner.
The resulting left-right coalition government led by Enrico Letta has bickered from the moment it took office and prospects for both growth and the debt have continued to worsen.
The economy shrinking 1.7 percent this year, down from a 1.3 percent contraction forecast in April, and it cut 2014 growth to 1.0 percent from 1.3 percent. Most analysts see growth of 0.7 percent at best next year.
Italy’s political situation has made no more progress than its economy, dimming prospects for the reforms needed to turn things around.
Italy’s medium term growth potential is now close to zero due to its failure to reduce costs and bureaucracy, tackle corruption or reform the justice system.
Since the days of the deepest crisis (in 2011) Italy has done nothing to improve its competitiveness, As a result its prospects for sustained debt reduction are non-existent.
Letta cuts a far more sober and reassuring figure than Berlusconi, but his ruling coalition is just as unruly and is deeply divided on economic policy.
Speculation has risen that there will be a new election in spring and on September 22 Economy Minister Fabrizio Saccomanni threatened to resign as the government squabbled over whether to suspend a hike in sales tax due to take effect in October.
Fininvest, The family holding company of former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi was ordered on Tuesday to pay 494 million euros in damages stemming from the disputed purchase of publisher Mondadori.
The final ruling by Italy’s top appeals court was a fresh blow to Berlusconi, 76, already reeling from a supreme court verdict which confirmed a four-year jail sentence last month, commuted to one year, for massive fraud at his Mediaset television empire.
The judges of the Third Criminal Chamber of the Court of Appeal of Palermo in the written judgment in which the former senator of the PDL was sentenced on March 25 to seven years in prison for collusion with the Mafia. The Court has also found payments solicited by the Mafia to Berlusconi “as the price of protection,” and that according to the judges began in 1974, with a request for 100. million lire
Disgraced ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi made a 20-year pact with Mafia bosses to whom he paid millions of euros in exchange for protection and help with his business empire, according to a judicial report.
The tycoon’s deal with the mob was described by judges of the Palermo Appeals Court as part of their 476-page reasoning, released on September 5, behind the jail sentence for his Mafia association given to Berlusconi’s close friend Marcello Dell’Utri.
The judges say that Dell’Utri, a Palermo-born former senator in Berlusconi’s PDL (People of Freedom) Party, was the mogul’s go-between with the Cosa Nostra for 20 years, up until 1992, the year in which the Mafia assassinated two prosecutors in bomb attacks.
But while the crisis is leaving the Letta government’s prospects dim, Berlusconi’s Mediaset seems to have shrugged off the news. The shares have been on a tear so far this year, nearly tripling in value from their all-time low of €1.16 ($1.52) set in December by the end of July (the Supreme Court ruling was Aug. 1). They’ve been mostly flat since then, but they have still outperformed the Italian Stock Exchange’s blue chip index over that period, closing trading Friday at €3.36 ($4.40). Several investment banks have upgraded Mediaset’s ratings in recent weeks, judging that the tycoon’s political and legal woes are likely to have limited impact on the company’s day-to-day operations.
“Any definitive sentence, and the subsequent requirement to apply it, must be accepted,” Italian President Giorgio Napolitano said August 13 in an e-mailed statement. “That goes for the case at the center of attention today as with every other one.”
Napolitano noted that Silvio Berlusconi would not be expected to go to jail. Because of his age, the billionaire businessman is likely to serve the sentence under house arrest or doing community service.
Five Star Movement Founder Beppe Grillo, head of the biggest opposition party in parliament, said Napolitano was too lenient with Berlusconi and called on the president to resign.
Berlusconi already has a successor lined up — his daughter Marina. Marina is Berlusconi’s oldest daughter from his first marriage and has always been her father’s favorite. Despite having dropped out of university, Marina was installed as the chief executive of her father’s media company at the tender age of 30, making her — according to Forbes — the most influential woman in Italy.
On Facebook and fansites, she presents herself as a friend of Silvio’s fiancée Francesca Pascale. Marina, who is approaching her 47th birthday, doesn’t seem to mind the age gap. Her father’s new belle is only 27. In recent days, Marina has been a part of all high-level party meetings, a noticeable change from the past. Indeed, Berlusconi used to be fond of saying that he didn’t want his daughter to have to suffer as he has. Now, according to various Italian media outlets, Berlusconi has confided in a select few that his daughter should stand in the upcoming election. Berlusconi-owned “Il Giornale” has also predicted that Marina would perhaps throw her hat into the ring in her father’s place. The affection between father and daughter is clearly mutual. Despite marrying a ballet dancer and having two children of her own, Silvio remains his daughter’s main man. She refuses to tolerate even the slightest criticism of him. And there are other similarities as well: Marina and Silvio both enjoy a good dye job and the occasional surgical intervention. She is the daughter of Silvio Berlusconi with his first wife Carla Elvira Lucia Dall’Oglio, and is the elder sister of the businessman Pier Silvio Berlusconi. She is married to Maurizio Vanadia.
Marina Berlusconi Vanadia, 47 year-old university dropout
On August 1 Berlusconi was ordered to serve four years in prison, a sentence that has been commuted to one year under a 2006 amnesty and will consist, due to his age, of detention under house arrest or community service rather than jail.
The five judges of the court of cassation ordered another part of the previous sentence – a ban on public office – to be re-evaluated by a lower court. “If there is not a reform of the justice system we are ready for elections,” he told his followers. “This alliance is now unsustainable. The PD should draw up an exit strategy,” Pippo Civati, a centre-left MP, was quoted as saying. “Let’s pass the electoral law, then go straight back to the polls.” Whatever the government’s fate, Mr. Berlusconi isn’t about to start serving his sentence or lose his seat. He has until mid-October to decide whether to serve the year’s sentence at home or perform some socially useful service. And Senate procedures to strip him of his post will likely take months.
The Court of Cassation has decided to schedule an appeal in the media mogul’s tax fraud trial for July 30, months earlier than expected. The high court said it moved up the date to prevent the statute of limitations from expiring on one of the charges on Aug. 1. A high court decision could see former Premier Silvio Berlusconi banned for years from public office.
Although Berlusconi isn’t in the government himself, steady support from his center-right People of Freedom party is necessary to keep Premier Enrico Letta’s 10-week-old government alive, since Letta’s center-left Democratic Party doesn’t have enough support in Parliament to control both houses.
On June 19, Italy’s Constitutional Court rejected a procedural challenge related to Berlusconi’s October conviction for tax fraud. The tax-fraud conviction, upheld on appeal last month, carries a four-year prison sentence and five-year ban from public office. The final appeal for that case, involving Berlusconi’s related to the acquisition by his media company Mediaset SpA of television and film rights almost a decade ago., is underway. Mediaset, Italy’s dominant private television broadcaster, bought U.S. film and television rights at inflated prices, allowing the company to fraudulently lower its tax bill. Mediaset itself wasn’t charged. Separately, Mr. Berlusconi has appealed his conviction and the four-year jail term handed down by the lower court. Both were upheld last month by an appeals court, but a standard second appeal is pending.
Berlusconi has, according to his own estimate, been the subject of some 2,500 court hearings. But, incredibly enough, the former prime minister has yet to serve a sentence:
• 1990: Berlusconi is found guilty of perjury for providing false testimony regarding his membership in Propaganda Due, a subversive and illegal Masonic lodge. Amnesty granted in 1989 saves him from actual sentencing.
• 1994: Berlusconi faces corruption charges over subsidiaries of his company Fininvest paying bribes totaling $240,000 to tax inspectors. In 1998, he is sentenced to 33 months in prison, which he never serves because the statute of limitations expires during an appeal.
• 1995: Berlusconi is found guilty of falsifying documents during Fininvest’s acquisition of the Medusa film company. In 2001 he is acquitted, and thus never serves a mandated 16-month prison sentence.
• 1998: In his second conviction in a week, Berlusconi is sentenced to 28 months in jail for using an offshore company to bribe former Italian Prime Minister Bettino Craxi. An appeals court throws out the charges a year later because the statute of limitations has expired.
• 2002: The Italian Parliament passes a bill allowing defendants to appeal for a change of venue if there is “legitimate suspicion” that the judge involved in a case is biased. Berlusconi uses the legislation to his advantage by dragging charges out past the statute of limitations (he will go on to evade false accounting charges through other laws passed by his government).
• 2013: An appeals court upholds charges of tax fraud against Berlusconi after he is initially sentenced to four years in prison and banned from public office for five years in 2012. Berlusconi is now appealing the verdict to Italy’s highest court, which has yet to issue a final verdict.
A Milan court on June 24 convicted former Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi of paying for sex with an underage prostitute during infamous “bunga bunga” parties at his villa and then using his influence to try to cover it up.
Berlusconi, 76, was sentenced to seven years in prison and barred from public office for life — a sentence that could mean the end of his two-decade political career. However, there are two more levels of appeal before the sentence would become final, a process that can take months.
[October 14 2011]
Le Monde publishes excerpts from DSK explanation
Given the “lack of sufficient elements of proof” uncovered by the police, “an investigation into attempted rape cannot be undertaken,” the public prosecutors’ office said.
The leader of the UMP Jean-Francois Cope held Monday “pathetic and sad” the intervention of Dominique Strauss-Kahn yesterday on TF1, saying “shocked” hints at a possible conspiracy. 7sur7
The leader of majority party said he was “deeply” shocked by the assumption of a trap that could have been stretched to DSK. figaro