Berlusconi free on plane charge

2009-06-16 19:39

Rome - Prosecutors investigating allegations that Premier Silvio Berlusconi misused government planes to fly entertainers and starlets to his vacation villa on Sardinia have decided to drop the case, news reports said on Tuesday.

The ANSA and Apcom news agencies said the prosecutors investigated six flights and found no wrongdoing and no additional costs to the state because of the passengers.

Opposition parties said the complaint filed by a consumer group - which followed widely publicised suggestions that Berlusconi had an inappropriate relationship with an 18-year-old model - was further evidence that the media baron is unfit to govern the country.

"Once again [the opposition] has come up with nothing after making insinuations of every type" during the recent European Parliament election campaign, said Daniele Capezzone, spokesperson for Berlusconi's Freedom People party.

The party held its own in the election, but failed to win the level of support predicted by Berlusconi.

The prosecutors reported their findings to a special tribunal involving allegations against government officials, which must now decide whether to go along with the decision or order further investigation.

When the consumer group first made the allegation several weeks ago, the premier's office said Berlusconi had done nothing wrong.