Former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi goes on trial Tuesday in Milan on fraud charges, seven months after losing power in national elections.

Mr. Berlusconi is charged with corporate fraud in a case involving Italian broadcaster Mediaset, which his family controls. He is accused of helping Mediaset avoid paying taxes on the rights to U.S. films that the company bought in the late 1990s.

The former prime minister is not expected to attend Tuesday's opening court hearing, which is largely procedural.

Another 13 people are on trial in the case, including British tax lawyer David Mills - the estranged husband of British Culture Secretary Tessa Jowells.

Mr. Berlusconi denies any wrongdoing and says the charges against him are politically motivated.

The 70-year-old former leader is Italy's richest man. Over the past two decades, has been tried several times on fraud and corruption charges, but has never been definitively convicted.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.