Berlusconi, 74, arrived in a Milan courtroom to face fraud and tax evasion charges stemming from his Mediaset television empire -- allegations he dismisses as "pure invention," The Daily Telegraph reported Monday
"There is something which is not going in the right direction for a democracy to have government leaders humiliated by having to spend hours in court while these important international events are taking place," Berlusconi told reporters.
Berlusconi has served almost three of his five-year term as prime minister and faces a slew of legal problems. The most salacious of the charges against him involve allegations he paid for sex with an underage prostitute known as Ruby the Heart Stealer.
Berlusconi also stands accused of paying a $600,000 bribe to his British former tax lawyer, David Mills, in return for providing false testimony in court, the newspaper said.
The prime minister told the court he will try to attend only Monday court hearings, maintaining government work prevents him from being there other days.
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