Berlusconi's brother faces trial over wire tapping

Silvio Berlusconi's brother is to stand trial accused of illegally publishing a wire-tapped conversation to discredit a leading figure of Italy's left.

Paolo Berlusconi is charged with receiving illegally obtained material and conspiring to reveal confidential information after his right-wing Il Giornale newspaper printed a conversation between the centre-left politician Piero Fassino, and Giovanni Consorte, the former chairman of Unipol, a group of insurers historically linked to Italy's Communist movement.

The recording, made in July 2005, reveals the two discussing Unipol's progress in taking over a major Italian bank, the Banca Nazionale del Lavoro (BNL) – a prospect that appalled the Italian right. Mr Fassino is said to have exclaimed: "We have a bank", although the takeover bid ultimately failed.

Mr Fassino, who was elected Mayor of Turin last month, was widely criticised after his remarks were printed. He is currently seeking €200,000 (£120,000) for what he claims are the damages to his reputation.

A research organisation RCS, owned by Roberto Raffaelli, was hired to do the wiretap and he is said to have handed the recording over to Paolo Berlusconi on Christmas Eve of 2005 at the Prime Minister's mansion at Arcore, near Milan.

Silvio Berlusconi and another person, Fabrizio Favata – an associate of Paolo Berlusconi and Mr Raffaelli – were present, and all four listened to the tape before it was passed to the newspaper owner, it is claimed.

Paolo Berlusconi has denied the charges and said that his and his family's reputations had been "sullied" by "illogical declarations and conjectures that have no basis in truth". The trial, in a Milan court, will begin in October.

Mr Favata has asked for a fast-track trial after being charged with blackmail. Investigators say he demanded €300,000 from Mr Raffaelli and threatened to go public on how the wiretap was leaked to Il Giornale.

Milan judge Stefania Donadeo will consider on 8 June a request by prosecutors to sentence Mr Favata to two years and eight months in prison and will consider a plea-bargaining request by Mr Raffaelli in exchange for a reduced jail term of one year and eight months for his role in the wiretap.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Manager

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity to...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Manager - Production

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Trainee Managers are required to join the UK's...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Manager

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will maximise the effective...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + uncapped commission : SThree: Hello! I know most ...

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss