Berlusconi 'should go on trial'

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The Independent Online
Italy's former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi (right) said yesterday that magistrates had asked that he be sent for trial on charges of corruption, but denied any wrongdoing.

He issued a statement saying the charges were groundless.

Magistrates say that three companies belonging to Mr Berlusconi's Fininvest empire paid bribes to tax police in return for lenient audits. Mr Berlusconi has always denied the accusations, saying the payments were extorted from the company by corrupt tax police. "Six months after I was invited to appear before magistrates, while I was presiding over a United Nations conference on organised crime, Milan's public prosecutor has asked that I be committed to trial on an unproven theory," he said.