Berlusconi ticked off over court ruling

2013-01-09 19:57
Silvio Berlusconi (Picture: Supplied)

Silvio Berlusconi (Picture: Supplied)

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Rome - Judges in Milan ticked off Silvio Berlusconi on Wednesday for criticising a divorce settlement ruling that ordered him to pay €36m to his former wife Veronica Lario.

Berlusconi had said on TV that judges in Milan had "persecuted [him] since 1994", claimed that the divorce verdict had been delivered by "three female judges, feminist and communist", and indicated he would appeal against it.

The outburst prompted a statement from the president of the Milan tribunal, Livia Pomodoro and the president of the Milan appeals court, Giovanni Canzio.

"[We] intend to firmly reject any insinuation against the non impartiality" of the judges involved in the divorce, "as their diligence and professionalism, and daily efforts in the delicate matter of family law jurisprudence is known to all," they said.

Pomodoro and Canzio also recalled that in 2010 the Council of Europe - a pan-European rule of law watchdog - urged politicians to avoid "mocking terms" when commenting judicial decisions.

Lario, 56, separated from Berlusconi in 2009 after accusing him of consorting with underage women. The move came after a newspaper revealed that he had attended the 18th birthday party of a sometime lingerie model who reportedly called him "daddy".

Last month, Berlusconi announced he had a new girlfriend 49 years younger than him, Francesca Pascale.

She has served as a local councillor in Naples for his People of Freedom party.

The three-times prime minister and billionaire businessman is now campaigning for the Italian centre-right ahead of 24-25 February elections, but has given up on bidding again for high office.

Over the years, Berlusconi has faced numerous legal troubles, some of which he escaped from by changing laws to his advantage while in office.

For example, he struck off false accounting, a crime for which he has been accused, from the penal code.

He is now expecting a verdict in the trial that sees him charged with paying for sex with an underage Moroccan girl and unduly pressuring police to release her after she had been held on suspicion of theft.

Berlusconi denies all the charges.

Milan judges are also expected to start hearing an appeals trial this month on a tax fraud case over which Berlusconi was handed in October a first instance four-year jail term and a five-year ban on holding public office.

- SAPA

Read more on:    silvio berlusconi  |  veronica lario  |  italy
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