BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: World: Europe
Front Page 
World 
Africa 
Americas 
Asia-Pacific 
Europe 
Middle East 
South Asia 
-------------
From Our Own Correspondent 
-------------
Letter From America 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 

Thursday, 19 April, 2001, 20:20 GMT 21:20 UK
Spanish judge moves against Berlusconi
Silvio Berlusconi
Mr Berlusconi said allegations against him are baseless
A Spanish judge has asked the Council of Europe to lift the immunity from prosecution enjoyed by former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi as a member of the Council's parliamentary assembly.

Judge Baltasar Garzon - who is best known for his unsuccessful prosecution of former Chilean leader Augusto Pinochet - wants to open an investigation into allegations of tax fraud involving a Berlusconi-owned Spanish television channel, Telecinco.

Mr Berlusconi has rejected the allegations as baseless.

A decision is not expected before next month's general election in Italy, which Mr Berlusconi is contesting as the leader of the right-wing opposition coalition.

Request for immunity lift

Mr Berlusconi is a member of the Italian delegation of the European human rights body's parliamentary assembly, which is made up of members nominated by national parliaments.

Baltasar Garzon
Mr Garzon attempted to try Chilean former dictator Augusto Pinochet
Mr Garzon has already asked for Mr Berlusconi's immunity in the Italian and European parliaments, of which he is a member, to be lifted.

A Council of Europe spokesman said the assembly rules committee would examine Mr Garzon's request from next week and hear Mr Berlusconi if he wished.

It would then compile a report for the full assembly to consider, probably in June.

Mr Berlusconi, who was Italy's prime minister for much of 1997, heads an opposition bloc dominated by his Forza Italia party.

Most opinion polls give the bloc a lead of around four points over the ruling centre-left coalition in the run-up to the 13 May election.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Europe stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Europe stories