Berlusconi faces down critics' call to resign

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ROME - The Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, threw down the gauntlet to his critics yesterday, declaring that even if he were implicated in corruption investigations he would refuse to resign, writes Fiona Leney.

'I can think of nothing I have done that could be faulted legally or even morally,' Mr Berlusconi said. His Fininvest business empire is embroiled in allegations of corruption and of flouting anti-trust laws. The Prime Minister said a formal notice of investigation against him was unlikely, and that 'it would be completely unfounded'. Therefore, he added, 'I see absolutely no reason why I should have to resign. I have a mandate from the voters and I believe that absolutely nothing would change as far as I am concerned.' The senior judge in Milan's anti-corruption investigating team hinted last week that a notice of investigation was about to be served on the Prime Minister, but later backed down.