The Milan Court of Appeal canceled Monday the conviction of former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi for violation of the secrecy of the investigation in the case related to the attempted takeover of Banca Nazionale del Lavoro (BNL) by the insurer Unipol.
Silvio Berlusconi was sentenced to one year and 27 months imprisonment in the first instance, in March 2013, for passing confidential information to a newspaper owned by his brother Paolo about an investigation into this project of takeover. In 2005, a few months before a general election, this newspaper (“Il Giornale”) published excerpts from wiretaps in which the leader of the center-left, Piero Fassino, seemed to exert political pressure on financial dealings with the former head of Unipol about the case BNL-Unipol.
Tuesday, the judges of the Milan Court of Appeal stated that the evidence doesn’t cleared Paolo and Silvio Berlusconi but the facts are now prescribed. The information leakage against Piero Fassino was illegal because it came from a confidential judicial inquiry into the failure of the attempted takeover of the bank Antonveneta by the insurer Unipol.
Paolo will nevertheless pay 80,000 euros in damages to Piero Fassino, recently new mayor of Turin. BNL was finally bought by the French bank BNP Paribas.
As a reminder, Silvio Berlusconi is involved in several other scandals and court cases. He was stripped of his Senate seat following his conviction for tax evasion in the Mediaset case. He is also charged with prostitution and corruption of a minor member of the opposition. The former head of the Italian government is the leader of his party Forza Italia, but can not stand in the next European elections because of his ineligibility.