ITALY

For­mer PM Ber­lus­coni gets April 5 trial date

The Washington Post Sunday - - THE WORLD -

A Mi­lan judge on Saturday or­dered Sil­vio Ber­lus­coni to be tried on cor­rup­tion charges, damp­ing the 80-year-old for­mer Ital­ian prime min­is­ter’s hopes of run­ning soon for of­fice again af­ter be­ing side­lined by a taxfraud con­vic­tion.

The Ital­ian news agency ANSA, re­port­ing from Mi­lan, said Judge Carlo Ot­tone De Marchi, af­ter a hear­ing on an in­dict­ment re­quest by pros­e­cu­tors, set the trial to be­gin April 5 in that city.

The Mi­lan daily Cor­riere della Sera says the for­mer three-time premier is accused of shelling out about 10 mil­lion eu­ros plus ex­pen­sive gifts to 20 young women who at­tended sexy par­ties at his Ar­core villa near Mi­lan. Pros­e­cu­tors have al­leged that Ber­lus­coni aimed to “buy” the women’s si­lence in var­i­ous tri­als in­volv­ing him. His at­tor­neys have de­nied any wrong­do­ing by their client.

DAN KITWOOD/GETTY IM­AGES

Per­form­ers dance as they make their way to the town square in Pernik, Bul­garia, for the open­ing of the In­ter­na­tional Fes­ti­val of the Mas­quer­ade Games. The two-day fes­ti­val, also known as the Surva Car­ni­val, is the largest tra­di­tional folk­lore event of its type in the Balkans.

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