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'Semi-coup d'etat toppled me' says Berlusconi

Merkel 'told German banks to sell Italian bonds', ex-PM says

19 February, 12:13
'Semi-coup d'etat toppled me' says Berlusconi (ANSA) - Rome, February 19 - Ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi on Tuesday reiterated his contention that he was forced out of office at the height of the euro crisis in November 2011 by a conspiracy involving Germany.

"In 2011 there was a semi-coup d'etat," the media magnate said.

Berlusconi cited two contributing factors: the weakening of his coalition because of the defection of one-time heir-apparent Gianfranco Fini; and the German government's "order" to its country's banks to sell Italian bonds, pushing up the yield spread to bailout levels. In the past Berlusconi has claimed German Chancellor Angela Merkel and former French president Nicolas Sarkozy had a hand in an alleged plot to replace him with market-friendly ex-European commissioner Mario Monti.

On Monday he called Merkel, who comes from the former Communist East Germany, "an East German bureaucrat" whose economic views were skewed by an alleged preference for a centralised economy.