Rome

Berlusconi lashes out against Italian justice

2,700 hearings against him and group managers is 'scandalous'

Berlusconi lashes out against Italian justice

Rome, February 12 - Former Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi on Tuesday said that it was ''scandalous'' that he and managers of his Mediaset television group had over the years participated in some 2,700 hearings in cases brought by prosecutors. Speaking at an ANSA forum on Tuesday in Rome, Berlusconi - who is seeking re-election in the February 24-25 national poll as head of his People of Freedom (PdL) party - said: ''We have now hit 2,700 hearings in trials against me and managers of my group. And notwithstanding, this scandalous thing slips away amid the greatest indifference". Berlusconi also hit back at Milan prosecutor Ilda Boccassini, who is going ahead with a trial against the media magnate in which he is accused of paying for sex with a 17-year-old girl and who accused Berlusconi of delaying tactics. The statement by Boccassini that he was using delaying tactics in the trial, whose next hearing had been scheduled to take place just before elections, ''is absolutely in line with the behavior of the Milan prosecutor,'' Berlusconi said. ''I believe I have good reasons for not having to occupy myself with my defense while campaigning".

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