An ally of Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has been cleared of bribing judges in a case which saw the leader as a defendant.
Cesare Previti (right) has worked with Mr Berlusconi for decades
Former defence minister Cesare Previti, 68, was acquitted of paying judges to stop the sale of a state food company to Mr Berlusconi's rival.
But Previti, who is already serving an 11-year term, was sentenced to five years on general corruption charges.
An immunity law presently protects Mr Berlusconi from legal action.
The law was passed ahead of Italy assuming the rotating presidency of the European Union earlier this year.
It was thought the scandal could affect the prime minister's standing abroad.
His first government had collapsed amid corruption allegations.
Previti who served in Mr Berlusconi's first government in 1994 has been on trial in Milan for three years.
He was formerly a lawyer for the prime minister's Fininvest
According to BBC correspondent Tamsin Smith in Milan the ruling on Saturday is a partial victory for Mr Berlusconi.
But Previti's lawyer, Giorgio Perroni, said: "I can't be happy when an
innocent man is halfway convicted."