Berlusconi accused of bribing witnesses in prostitution trial

MILAN - An Italian court accused former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi on Friday of bribing witnesses to give false testimony in a trial linked to the case in which he has been charged with paying for sex with a minor.
The accusation, two days after Berlusconi was stripped of his seat in parliament for tax fraud, came in a written judgment from the trial of three associates of the billionaire media tycoon who are charged with procuring prostitutes for parties at his home near Milan.
The court said on Friday the evidence against Berlusconi and the others implicated had been sent to prosecutors who are expected to open a new investigation into the case, court documents showed.
It said there was evidence Berlusconi had paid "money and other benefits" to young women who had taken part in the parties near Milan to give false testimony in the case, one of a number of scandals which overshadowed the end of his last government in 2011.
It said the regular monthly payments of at least 2,500 euros ($3,400) to witnesses in trials in which the 77-year-old Berlusconi was implicated "is not an anomaly but an illegal action. It is evidence of corruption."
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