Berlusconi claims new affidavit will overturn tax-dodge conviction

Nov. 26, 2013 at 4:24 PM
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ROME, Nov. 26 (UPI) -- Former Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi said in Rome Tuesday he has new evidence proving his innocence of tax fraud and allowing him to retain his Senate seat.

He said an affidavit from Dominique O'Reilly-Appleby, former chief executive officer of the American film company Agrama, clears him of benefiting from an offshore tax-dodging scheme.

"This is testimony ... that proves I had no part in the mechanism," Berlusconi claimed.

Italy's Supreme Court of Cassation ruled in August a series of Berlusconi shell companies siphoned 370 million euros ($502.15 million) of taxpayer money, and sentenced him to four years in prison, commuted to one by an amnesty, the Italian news agency ANSA reported.

The conviction, if it is not overturned or otherwise altered, would remove Berlusconi from the Senate and from leadership of his center-right party.

Berlusconi added he would present the affidavit to a court in Brescia in the hope of having the case reopened.

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