Marina Berlusconi appears before Palermo prosecutors

Ex-premier's daughter questioned over alleged extortion case

Marina Berlusconi appears before Palermo prosecutors

(ANSA) - Palermo, July 24 - Silvio Berlusconi's daughter Marina appeared before prosecutors in Palermo on Tuesday for questioning regarding investigations into allegations the ex-premier was a victim of extortion by his former aide, senator Marcello Dell'Utri. Marina Berlusconi is the president of the family holding company Fininvest and of its publishing group Mondadori. She was expected to be asked about two loans made to Dell'Utri in 2003 to a total of over 1.1 million euros from an account held jointly with her father. Dell'Utri is alleged to have received around 40 million euros from Berlusconi over 10 years. Investigators believe the money served to buy the lawmaker's silence about alleged relations with the Sicilian mafia or protection from it. The investigations come after Italy's supreme Court of Cassation in March ordered a retrial of Dell'Utri after he received a seven-year jail sentence for allegedly helping the Mafia on grounds that his legal rights had not been respected in the appeal against the original conviction. However in its explanation of its decision to order a retrial, the court also said there was evidence that Dell'Utri had acted as an intermediary with the mafia for the ex-premier, handing on "substantial sums" of money for protection. Marina Berlusconi is being questioned as a person with knowledge of events and neither she nor her father are reportedly being probed in this case.

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