BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese Welsh
BBCi CATEGORIES   TV   RADIO   COMMUNICATE   WHERE I LIVE   INDEX    SEARCH 

BBC NEWS
 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 


Commonwealth Games 2002

BBC Sport

BBC Weather

SERVICES 
Thursday, 21 February, 2002, 19:39 GMT
Italy set for business law clash
Silvio Berlusconi
Berlusconi has business and political interests
test hello test

By William Horsley
BBC European Affairs Correspondent
line
A heated argument over the Italian prime minister's business interests is coming to a head after the approval of a new law on conflict of interest by an Italian parliamentary committee.

Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is a multi-billionaire businessman, but he has refused to sell off his own business interests - which include all the main private TV channels as well as extensive publishing activities - while he is prime minister.

His government proposes that a commission of nominated politicians should monitor potential conflicts of interest and have the power to report them to parliament.

But the opposition claims the proposed law is too weak to be effective.

On Thursday it was approved by the constitutional committee of the Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of parliament.

It will be debated by the whole house next week.

Opposition anger

The opposition has condemned the draft law, claiming that the proposed commission would be biased in favour of Mr Berlusconi, that it has too narrow a focus and that it lacks any real penalties.

In 1994 Silvio Berlusconi's first government was brought down amid arguments about conflicts of interest and criminal investigations into his business dealings.

Since he regained power last year Mr Berlusconi has had to fight more corruption charges in the courts.

He said he would introduce new rules to settle the conflict of interest argument within 100 days. That has not happened.

And in the past few months he has blocked plans for a common European arrest warrant, which could have meant Spain, for instance, could extradite him for the charges he faces.

See also:

21 Feb 02 | Europe
Italy's new superboss
15 Feb 02 | Europe
Storm gathers around Italian TV
15 Aug 01 | Business
Berlusconi deadline nears
18 Jun 01 | Europe
Berlusconi replies to critics
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