Minister resigns during court case

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The Independent Online

an italian minister resigned in the middle of an embezzlement trial yesterday, dealing a fresh blow to the Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi.

The resignation of Aldo Brancher, a former executive in Mr Berlusconi's Fininvest media empire who was unexpectedly named as Minister for Federalism last month, was announced in a Milan court in a case involving a bank takeover.

Mr Brancher's departure follows a storm of criticism over his appointment on 18 June and his subsequent claim for immunity from prosecution because of his new job.