Milan, May 20 - Judges in Milan on Monday found four men guilty of taking hostage Silvio Berlusconi's trusted accountant and his wife last year. Francesco Leone, the leader of the gang, was sentenced to eight years and eight months in prison while his three accomplices were sentenced to four years and eight months for holding Giuseppe Spinelli and his wife Anna captive in their home for eleven hours and forcing them to call media mogul Berlusconi to try and obtain 35 million euros for the gang last October. 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. Defence attorneys denied this, and prosecutors confirmed there was no evidence to support the claim. Spinelli is considered the "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. Among Spinelli's tasks, according to investigators in the "bunga-bunga" trial, was to give cash gifts to young women who took part in the parties.
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di Giovanni Pastore