Berlusconi skips opening of his tax trial

Feb. 28, 2011 at 1:19 PM
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MILAN, Italy, Feb. 28 (UPI) -- Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi nonchalantly skipped the resumption of his tax-fraud trial Monday, brushing off his legal troubles.

The tax fraud case, concerning the sale of film rights by Berlusconi's Mediaset organization, and two other tax cases were reinstated after Italy's Constitutional Court last month partially lifted his official immunity, the Italian news agency ANSA reported.

A fourth trial involving allegations Berlusconi had sex with an underage prostitute and abused his official power was not covered by the shield.

Asked about the start of that trial April 6, he said, "What is there (on that date)?"

Questioned on ignoring Monday's trial, Berlusconi quoted Jesus, "I'm the man who's had the most trials in Italy. I've had 2,952 hearings. When they tell me, 'Let yourself be tried', I think, 'forgive them for they know not what they do.'"

Berlusconi, who has vowed he would not resign, has claimed the Milan prosecutors are trying to remove him from office.

A recent poll indicated if the elections were held today, the center-left opposition could be favored for the first time since Berlusconi returned to power in 2008, ANSA said.

Other information about the poll was unavailable.

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