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Thursday, October 28, 1999 Published at 16:50 GMT 17:50 UK

World: Europe

Berlusconi acquitted in land case

An appeals court in the Italian city of Milan has acquitted the country's former conservative prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, on fraud charges relating to a land deal.

Mr Berlusconi was accused of tax evasion and false accounting over his dealings in land near his villa at Macherio near Milan.

On Tuesday the same court dropped charges of illegal party financing against Mr Berlusconi and another former premier, Bertino Craxi, on the grounds that the offences occurred more than ten years ago.

Mr Berlusconi has to date received prison sentences totalling more than six years and faces at least six more prosecutions for corruption.

He has denied all the charges saying he is the victim of a political vendetta. Mr Berlusconi -- a millionaire publisher -- was prime minister for seven months in 1994 and now leads the Italian centre-right opposition.

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