Milan

No ransom paid for Berlusconi's accountant held captive

Milan chief prosecutor squelches media speculation

No ransom paid for Berlusconi's accountant held captive

Milan, January 30 - Milan's chief prosecutor said on Wednesday that no evidence of a ransom payment emerged from an investigation into the hostage taking of Silvio Berlusconi's trusted accountant, Giuseppe Spinelli, last October. "There is no evidence of a ransom payment," prosecutor Edmondo Bruti Liberati said, confirming statements from Silvio Berlusconi's lawyer, Niccolo' Ghedini, last November. Spinelli, 71, and his wife Anna, were held captive in their home by a gang of criminals for eleven hours during the night between October 15 and 16, and forced to call Berlusconi to try and obtain 35 million euros for the gang. Prosecutors have questioned the Spinelli couple, but not Silvio Berlusconi. The prosecutor's office has requested immediate judgment for defendant Francesco Leone and three alleged accomplices, all of whom are Albanian. Two additional Italians were also arrested in the case last fall, and police also announced at the time that additional suspects were under investigation, without specifying who or how many. The abduction was not reported to police until the day after the couple's release, prompting a wave of speculation in the Italian media that a ransom had been paid. Ghedini denied the charge, saying fear of retaliation was the motivation for the delay. Spinelli is considered "treasurer" for Berlusconi, who is now on trial in Milan for allegedly paying for sex with an under-age prostitute at his so-called "bunga-bunga" sex parties at his home. Spinelli's job, according to investigators in the "bunga-bunga" trial, was to give cash gifts to young women who took part in the parties. Photo: Giuseppe Spinelli

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