Berlusconi to Stand Trial in Wiretap Case, Ansa Says

Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was indicted by a Milan judge in a wiretapping case related to a battle for control of Banca Nazionale del Lavoro SpA, Ansa newswire reported today.

Judge Maria Grazia Domanico decided that the trial will start on March 15, Ansa said. Berlusconi lawyer Niccolo Ghedini described the indictment as “incredible,” adding that “this umpteenth trial will end up in nothing as all the other ones,” the newswire added.

Milan prosecutors requested that Berlusconi be tried for allegedly leaking transcripts of wiretapped phone calls to Il Giornale, a newspaper owned by his brother Paolo, to discredit a political rival, according to a September statement by prosecutor Edmondo Bruti Liberati.

The transcripts refer to calls between Piero Fassino, who formerly headed the Democrats of the Left, and a banker seeking support for a takeover bid for Banca Nazionale del Lavoro in 2006. Fassino was recorded during a bidding war for the bank between Spain’s Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA and Italy’s Compagnia Assicuratrice Unipol SpA.

Berlusconi currently faces three other trials in Milan on charges of bribery, use of under-age prostitutes and abuse of power.

(Corrects bank name in first, fourth paragraphs.)
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