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Last Updated: Monday, 27 November 2006, 11:53 GMT
Berlusconi illness delays trial
Silvio Berlusconi leaves his home to travel to hospital in Milan on Sunday
Mr Berlusconi, who is 70, spent the night at a Milan hospital
The trial of Silvio Berlusconi for alleged fraud has been postponed after the former Italian prime minister was taken ill at a rally on Sunday.

Mr Berlusconi, accused of corporate fraud and money-laundering, spent the night in hospital after fainting.

Aides insisted that he would be well enough to attend a protest against government policies next Saturday.

But his lawyers said a request to postpone hearings due to his illness had been accepted by the Milan court.

The trial is expected to resume on Friday.

Mr Berlusconi, 70, denies all charges against him.

He is said to have spent a calm night in hospital and was expected to be discharged on Monday afternoon having undergone tests heart tests.

Twice prime minister, Mr Berlusconi has been leader of the opposition since losing power in elections in April.

'Irregular heartbeat'

Proceedings against Mr Berlusconi, Italy's richest man, began last week. He could face up to 12 years in jail if convicted of charges including corporate fraud.

He is on trial alongside 13 others, including UK lawyer David Mills, the estranged husband of British Culture Secretary, Tessa Jowell.

Prosecutors allege the defendants were involved in establishing a complex system to enable tax evasion.

On Sunday, Mr Berlusconi suddenly slumped at the podium where he had been speaking for about 40 minutes in the northern Italian spa resort of Montecatini Terme.

Several members of Mr Berlusconi's entourage rushed to his aid but he was unable to stand up and had to be carried out of the room.

Mr Berlusconi later told reporters that doctors had diagnosed an irregular heartbeat and wanted to keep him under observation for 24 hours.

Mr Prodi is reported to have written a note to Mr Berlusconi, wishing him a speedy recovery.


SEE ALSO
Profile: Silvio Berlusconi
26 Nov 06 |  Europe
Berlusconi and Mills trial opens
21 Nov 06 |  UK Politics
Q&A: Berlusconi fraud charges
07 Jul 06 |  Europe



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