Berlusconi Jailbreak!

Berlusconi Jailbreak!

The bribery case against former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was dismissed today in a Milan court. Mr. Berlusconi, a billionaire, stayed out of jail the same way Mafia chiefs do, by running out the clock. Unlike every other European country, Italy keeps the statutory limitation clock running during trials, so rich defendants just stall the proceedings, drawing their trials out until they reach the limit and the cases are thrown out of court.

Silvio Berlusconi was charged with paying his British lawyer David Mills $600,000 to perjure himself. According to Bloomberg News:

“Mills was sentenced by a Milan court in February 2009 to four-and-a-half years in jail for accepting $600,000 in exchange for giving false testimony in two previous trials about an alleged offshore network of companies controlled by Berlusconi’s holding company, Fininvest SpA.”

Justice, Italian-style: the guy who got the bribe was convicted and went to jail, and Mr. Berlusconi, the guy who paid the bribe, didn’t. But Mr. B. is still in jeopardy in another, more-tabloid-friendly case. He’s accused of having relations with an under-aged Moroccan prostitute and abusing his official powers to keep her out of jail.


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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht,

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