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Berlusconi's fraud trial postponed

From Hada Messia
CNN
Silvio Berlusconi with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at a recent meeting in Berlin.
Silvio Berlusconi with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at a recent meeting in Berlin.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Silvio Berlusconi is accused of not paying $45M in taxes for his media company, Mediaset, from 2000 to 2003
  • The trial, one of two against Berlusconi, had not been possible because of an immunity law shielding him from prosecution
  • Italy's top court lifted the immunity last month and allowed legal proceedings against him
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Rome, Italy (CNN) -- A judge adjourned the trial of Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who is accused of tax fraud charge, officials said Monday.

Lawyers for Berlusconi gave January 18 as the earliest date the premier could attend the hearings, a court official said.

Berlusconi, who was attending the United Nations summit on hunger in Rome on Monday, would not be available to attend hearings in Milan before January because of his official engagements, his lawyers said.

The judge ruled that there will be procedural hearings on November 30, but Berlusconi does not have to attend until January.

Berlusconi, 73, is accused of not paying $45 million in taxes for his media company, Mediaset, from 2000 to 2003. If convicted, he faces a maximum of six years in prison.

The trial, one of two against Berlusconi, had not been possible because of an immunity law shielding him from prosecution.

Italy's top court lifted the immunity last month and allowed legal proceedings against him to continue.

Berlusconi has denied the charges, saying he is a victim of politically-motivated magistrates.