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Italian court acquits Silvio Berlusconi in Bunga Bunga bribe case

The scandal over the Bunga Bunga parties contributed to Silvio Berlusconi's downfall in 2011.

The scandal over the Bunga Bunga parties contributed to Silvio Berlusconi's downfall in 2011. Photo: AP

An Italian court has acquitted former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi over allegations of bribing witnesses in a underage prostitution case that has dogged the conservative leader for more than a decade.

Mr Berlusconi was accused of paying 24 people, mostly young guests at his so-called Bunga Bunga parties, to provide false testimony in a previous trial where he was charged with paying for sex with a 17-year-old Moroccan nightclub dancer.

In a ruling read out in court on Wednesday, the judge said there was no case to answer.

The other 28 co-defendants were also acquitted.

Prosecutors had demanded a six-year prison term for Mr Berlusconi, whose Forza Italia party is a key component of Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s conservative coalition.

Mr Berlusconi, 86, had denied the allegations and said he is the victim of a years-long plot by magistrates to hound him from politics.

The scandal over the Bunga Bunga parties contributed to Mr Berlusconi’s downfall as prime minister in 2011, marking the end of his fourth government.

He was eventually acquitted in the initial case, with an appeals court ruling that while he had paid a teenager for sex, there was no proof he knew she was a minor.

He was put in the dock again after being accused of bribing witnesses.

-Reuters

Topics: Italy
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