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Strasbourg rejects Berlusconi rapid-appeal request

Threatens hopes of running in European Parliament elections

30 January, 17:22
Strasbourg rejects Berlusconi rapid-appeal request (ANSA)- Strasbourg, January 30 - The European Court of Human Rights on Thursday rejected Silvio Berlusconi's request to rapidly consider a suit against an Italian anti-corruption law that banned him from office. The three-time premier had said he was confident the ruling would be overturned in time to run in European Parliament elections in May.

The media mogul was ejected from parliament on the basis of the anti-corruption law last year after the supreme court upheld a tax-fraud conviction against him, making it definitive.

Italy's anti-corruption law, named after Justice Minister Paola Severino, was passed on December 31, 2012.

Berlusconi argues that the law was applied retroactively in his case, which is against the Italian Constitution.

The anti-corruption law was adopted before the supreme court upheld the tax-fraud conviction, although the original sentence predates it.

The previous administration of Premier Mario Monti enacted the anti-corruption law after the EU and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) reported that corruption in Italy cost the State 60 billion euros a year, or 3.8% of GDP (against an EU average of 1%), and that Italy was the third-most-corrupt OECD State, after Mexico and Greece.