Hong Kong Says It Adhered to Law in Berlusconi Probe Request

Hong Kong said it didn’t compromise the legal process in assisting Italian prosecutors to seize documents related to an investigation involving former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

The government is responding to recent reports in media including the South China Morning Post newspaper that said Hong Kong’s former Chief Executive Donald Tsang was promised a meeting with Pope Benedict XVI in 2008 if his government could halt the transfer of evidence.

“The Department of Justice has not taken into account any attempt to arrange a meeting with the Pope,” the government said yesterday in a statement. The process “has never been compromised in any way, nor have any irrelevant considerations been taken into account,” it said.

Hong Kong’s Department of Justice received a letter from Italy’s public prosecutor in Sept. 2006, seeking help to search premises and seize documents in the city, the government said in the statement.

The documents were sent to Italy on Aug. 12 this year after repeated appeals against the search warrants by the parties involved were rejected by courts in Hong Kong, it said in the statement.

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