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Trial Opens Against Italy's PM Berlusconi


Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi looks on as he attend a meeting with Confcommercio in Milan, February 28, 2011

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi looks on as he attend a meeting with Confcommercio in Milan, February 28, 2011

The first of several trials against Italy's Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi re-opened Monday after the country's supreme court stripped him of immunity.

Monday's court case focuses on charges of tax fraud in the purchase of TV rights for U.S. movies through offshore companies, that are part of Mr. Berlusconi's Mediaset media empire.

The prime minister has denied the allegations and did not show up in court for the trial, the first of several against him.

Mr. Berlusconi faces a separate trial in April on charges of having paid for sex with an underage nightclub dancer and trying to cover it up.

Additional charges against the prime minister include corruption, and another case related to the current Mediaset trial.

Earlier this month, hundreds of thousands of women marched across Italy demanding that Mr. Berlusconi resign.

Mr. Berlusconi has denied all the charges against him, saying they are politically driven, and has insisted that he intends to finish his term in office, which ends in 2013.

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