Rome

'System' for fraud at Mediaset, says prosecutor

Scan inflated costs for tax benefits, magistrate tells court

'System' for fraud at Mediaset, says prosecutor

(see related stories) Rome, July 30 - A State prosecutor told Italy's supreme court on Tuesday that a "system" for tax fraud existed at ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi's Mediaset media empire. The supreme Court of Cassation is considering whether to uphold a four-year prison sentence and a five-year ban on Berlusconi holding public office for tax fraud. "There is a thread that is given from the continuity of the system starting from the period of its invention in the 1980s," said prosecutor Antonello Mura. Mura said the aim was to "inflate costs for tax benefits and produce payments for the creation of substantial capital abroad". Berlusconi says he had nothing to do with these dealings or authorising them as he was too occupied with political matters. He was premier at the time they took place, in 2002 and 2003. Franco Coppi, a member of Berlusconi's defence team, said Tuesday that the "crime does not exist" and said he was aiming to have the conviction overturned.

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