MILAN (Reuters) - Former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi has flown to the United States for tests on his heart condition, meaning he could not attend the start of a new trial on Monday tied to his "bunga bunga" parties, his lawyers said.


The lawyers said Berlusconi had checked into the Presbyterian Columbia University Medical Center in New York for a medical visit almost four months after undergoing major open heart surgery in Italy.


Berlusconi turned 80 last week and had a party with family and friends to celebrate. There has been no indication of any worsening of his condition.


The media tycoon had been due in court on Monday for a preliminary hearing in a case where he is accused of handing out about 10 million euros ($11 million) in bribes to persuade guests at his private parties to keep quiet about the revelries.


Berlusconi denies the allegations.

He was acquitted last year of having sex with an under-aged prostitute at his parties. The judge ruled that it could not be proved that he knew the woman was just 17 at the time.

(Writing by Crispian Balmer; Editing by Andrew Heavens)