Berlusconi probed over Senator switch
Case regards money allegedly paid to Sergio De Gregorio28 February, 12:04
The switch of allegiance helped undermine Prodi's majority in the upper house and the administration collapsed less than two years after taking power.
De Gregorio allegedly received three million euros.
The 76-year-old media magnate's People of Freedom party said the move signalled that some prosecutors have resumed their alleged judicial "persecution" of Berlusconi after a truce for Sunday-Monday's general election.
Berlusconi's centre right came second in the election, but managed to prevent Pier Luigi Bersani's centre-left alliance gaining a working majority in the Senate, which his supporters have hailed as a success as the alliance trailed by double figures in the polls at the start of the election campaign.
"Now that the elections are over and the voters have once again reiterated their confidence in Berlusconi, the use of the justice system for political ends has resumed in some prosecutors' offices," said PdL MP Maurizio Lupi. Berlusconi is currently on trial in Milan over accusations he paid for sex with a young Moroccan dancer, Karima El Mahroug, better known as Ruby the Heart-stealer, before she was 18 during alleged Bunga Bunga sex parties at his home.
Both the ex-premier and the woman deny ever having sex. She said money she received from Berlusconi was given as part of a gift.
Berlusconi is also accused of abuse of office for allegedly having used his influence when he was premier to spring El Mahroug from a Milan police station to hush up the affair after an unrelated theft claim.
Berlusconi is appealing against a one-year conviction he was handed last year for tax fraud on film rights for his Mediaset TV group.
The three-time premier has also been indicted over accusations he was involved in the publication of an illegally obtained wiretap.
In the ongoing and several other previous trials, Berlusconi has always denied wrongdoing, claiming he is the victim of a minority group of allegedly left-wing prosecutors and judges who he says are persecuting him for political reasons.
Berlusconi has been tried some 30 times but has only been convicted three times - verdicts that were either timed out or overturned on appeal - prior to the Mediaset fraud verdict.