Milan

Berlusconi's lawyer denies ransom paid to kidnappers

More suspects added to list in bizarre plot

Berlusconi's lawyer denies ransom paid to kidnappers

Milan, November 20 - Silvio Berlusconi's lawyer on Tuesday denied speculation that the ex-premier had paid a ransom to a gang who held his accountant Giuseppe Spinelli and wife captive for a night. "No sum of money was paid to anyone and nor were there any negotiations with the kidnappers," said the lawyer, Niccolo' Ghedini. "Any inferences about this are totally devoid of any basis". He said that the delay in the reporting of the kidnapping was due to fear. Giuseppe Spinelli was held captive on the night of October 15-16 at his home by a gang that, according to prosecutors, tried to extort 35 million euros from Berlusconi. But the kidnapping was not reported until the following day, a fact that has prompted a wave of immense speculation in the Italian media and there have been reports that a ransom may have been paid. "The delay in informing the judicial authorities is exclusively down to the highly justified fear the kidnappers caused Spinelli, who feared serious retaliation against himself and his family," said Ghedini. "I also want to specify that Berlusconi had no role in the affair and the decisions on the timing and methods were taken by Spinelli and by me". It emerged Tuesday that the victims may have been held at gunpoint with harmless replicas when police announced that toy guns were among the evidence seized. Police also announced that additional suspects were under investigation, without specifying who or how many.

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