Berlusconi loses defamation suit against British magazine

Other News Materials 5 September 2008 21:39 (UTC +04:00)

A Milan court has thrown out a defamation suit brought by Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi against British magazine The Economist, the publication said Friday on its website, citing the judge's ruling.

"We are pleased to announce that the Court in Milan has issued a judgment rejecting all Mr Berlusconi's claims and requiring him to make a payment for costs to The Economist," the magazine said.

The Economist posted on its website what is said was a copy of the Milan Judge Angelo Ricciardi's ruling dated August 26.

The court rejected all instances brought by Berlusconi and his lawyers having "ascertained the non-defamatory nature of the article 'An Italian Story' published by The Economist on April 26, 2001," Ricciardi wrote.

The judge also ordered Berlusconi to pay costs amounting to 25,000 euros (36,100 dollars), the copy of the ruling showed.

A billionaire-turned-politician, Berlusconi launched the lawsuit in July 2001 shortly after he began his second term as premier.

The Economist article, which appeared just weeks before Italy's elections earlier that year, questioned Berlusconi's credentials as premier, criticising him for failing to explain how he would separate his media interests as owner of the country's three leading commercial television channels from his political role.

The London-based magazine also pointed to Berlusconi's numerous legal battles and allegations that he had business dealings with the Mafia.

Berlusconi subsequently won the elections and held office for the next five years, the longest term for an Italian premier since World War II.

Following defeat in Italy's 2006 elections, Berlusconi won a third term as premier when he triumphed in this year's April vote, dpa reported.