Italy’s Berlusconi questioned in prostitution probe

People of Freedom (PDL) party member and former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi wipes his forehead as he attends the Upper house of the parliament in Rome, April 30, 2013. REUTERS/Giampiero Sposito
People of Freedom (PDL) party member and former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi wipes his forehead as he attends the Upper house of the parliament in Rome, April 30, 2013. REUTERS/Giampiero Sposito

Italian center-right leader Silvio Berlusconi was questioned by Rome prosecutors for three hours on Tuesday over allegations the former prime minister paid 750,000 euros to buy the silence of people aware that he used prostitutes.

The interrogation centered on a case in which the 76-year-old media tycoon is believed to have been the victim of extortion by three former associates, sources at the prosecutors office said.

One of these associates, businessman Gianpaolo Tarantini, is accused of providing prostitutes for parties at Berlusconi’s private villa outside Milan.

Berlusconi is also accused by prosecutors in the southern city of Bari of “inducement to give false testimony,” by paying the money to Tarantini, Tarantini’s wife, and a former political associate, Walter Lavitola.

Berlusconi, whose People of Freedom party is vital to the survival of the left-right coalition government of Prime Minister Enrico Letta, has seen his many legal difficulties mount in recent weeks.

On Monday, prosecutors in Milan called for him to serve six years in jail on charges of abuse of office and paying for sex with a minor, and last week he lost an appeal against a four year sentence for tax fraud.

The verdict in the Milan sex case is expected next month, while Berlusconi has launched a second and final appeal against the tax fraud conviction. He will serve no time in jail until the appeals process, which can last for years, is exhausted.

Berlusconi denies any wrongdoing in all the cases against him.

(writing by Gavin Jones; editing by Giles Elgood)



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

New Yorkers are nation's unhappiest residents: Study

New Yorkers aren't a happy bunch, at least to a new study released by a nonprofit economic research group.

News

NY judge throws out lawsuit by Empire State…

A New York state judge has thrown out a lawsuit in which longtime investors in the Empire State Building claimed they were shortchanged out of hundreds of millions of dollars…

Local

Mysterious white flags appear over Brooklyn Bridge

Two white flags mysteriously appeared over the towers of the Brooklyn Bridge yesterday in place of the American flags that are a traditional fixture.

National

Judge sets January start for murder trial of…

By Elizabeth BarberBOSTON (Reuters) - Former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez will be tried in January for the murder of semi-professional football player Odin…

Movies

From 'La Femme Nikita' to 'Lucy,' a list…

French filmmaker Luc Besson has created a cottage industry of junk cinema. Here are his many unique action heroes, including Liam Neeson and "Lucy"'s Lucy.

Movies

Review: 'Lucy,' with Scarlett Johansson, is smart, stupid…

Luc Besson's "Lucy," in which Scarlett Johansson gains increased control over her brain, is a film about smart and stupid but always enjoyable.

Television

'Pretty Little Liars' recap: Season 5, Episode 7,…

Drunk girls and ghost brownies: here’s your weekly ‘Pretty Little Liars’ recap by way of Q&A. Q: do they really not check for feet under…

Arts

Don't miss 'Charles James: Beyond Fashion' at the…

Have you been meaning to see "Charles James: Beyond Fashion"? There are only two weeks left to get to the Met and catch this amazing American fashion designer's collection.

NFL

David Tyree hiring has gay rights advocates angry

Former Giants Super Bowl hero David Tyree will re-join the franchise as its new director of player development.

NFL

Ben McAdoo's new offense has Giants excited to…

Even Tom Coughlin feels he has a lot to learn about offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo’s new offense, which makes the veteran coach very excited.

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: A's, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers lead…

MLB Power Rankings: A's, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers lead pack

NFL

2014 NFL season betting odds: Which team will…

2014 NFL season betting odds: Which team will win Super Bowl?

Tech

Learn Braille with these gloves

U.S. scientists have designed high-tech gloves to help users understand Braille in a matter of minutes.

Home

5 New Ikea products that will change your…

We round-up the latest must-have products.

Food

Recipe: Wolfgang Puck's Buttermilk French Toast

We recently spent some time chatting with restauranteur/celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck at his Wolfgang Puck American Grille in the Borgata in Atlantic City. Puck wanted…

Style

Go retro with your sneakers

The best of wacky new sneakers.