Rome

High judge brushes off PdL outcry over Fininvest ruling

Berlusconi's 500-euro-sentence stirs supporters' ire

High judge brushes off PdL outcry over Fininvest ruling

Rome, September 18 - The deputy chief of the judiciary's self-governing body, the CSM, dismissed outcry among lawmakers in Silvio Berlusconi's People of Freedom (PdL) party over the ex-premier's failure to overturn a 500-million-euro damages payout as a repeated, chanted prayer. "It doesn't strike me as new. It's a rosary we are used to (hearing)," said Michele Vietti. Italy's supreme Court of Cassation said Tuesday it rejected an appeal by Berlusconi's holding company Fininvest against a huge damages payout over the bribing of a judge in the takeover of publisher Mondadori. As a result, the damages to rival Carlo De Benedetti's company CIR remains, though the court granted a reduction to from of around 541 million euros 494 million euros. PdL MP and ex-minister Maria Stella Gelmini called the sentence confirmation "a massacre of the law" in an interview published Wednesday in the newspaper La Stampa. Gelmini added, "The left can no longer deny the obvious" and called for justice reform. PdL Coordinator Sandro Bondi said Wednesday, "The Fininvest payout is equal to half the market capitalisation value of De Benedetti's CIR and is higher than the value of its parent holding company (Cofide). This data alone measures of the magnitude of a judgment that in any other country would be considered a true act of judicial piracy". The media magnate and centre-right leader has repeatedly blasted his long string of legal woes over the last 20 years as persecution by allegedly left-wing judges.

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