Billionaire News Magnate Jailed For Wiretapping

But probably not the one you were hoping for.

Berlusconi Gets One-Year Sentence Over Wiretapping Case


Published: March 7, 2013

The case must go through more rounds of appeal before becoming definitive. His brother, Paolo, the publisher of the Milan newspaper Il Giornale, was also sentenced to two years and three months for illegally allowing the publication in 2006 of what prosecutors say was a wiretapped conversation between Piero Fassino, then the leader of Italy’s center-left opposition, and Giovanni Consorte, then the chairman of insurer Unipol, which was bidding to buy one of Italy’s chief banks, Banca Nazionale del Lavoro.

Mr. Berlusconi has been parrying prosecutors for decades, saying that the many criminal cases brought against him were just political attacks. “It is really impossible to tolerate a judicial persecution that has lasted 20 years and starts up again every time there are particularly complex moments in the country’s political life,” Mr. Berlusconi said in a note posted on his party’s Web site on Thursday afternoon, which reiterated calls for a reform of the judicial system.

Sentences are expected this month in two other cases against him. In one, Mr. Berlusconi is on trial over charges that he paid for sex with an underage nightclub dancer and then used his influence to cover it up.

On Monday, prosecutors accused Mr. Berlusconi of running a “prostitution ring” in his home outside Milan.

And a verdict is expected on March 23 in the appeal trial to uphold a conviction on charges of tax fraud. Last October, Mr. Berlusconi was sentenced to four years.


Italy’s Rating Cut by Fitch as Vote Result May Deepen Slump

By Lorenzo Totaro, Bloomberg News

Mar 8, 2013 12:57 PM ET

Investors are paying less attention to the views of ratings companies and relying more on their own analysis. Yields on sovereign securities moved in the opposite direction from what ratings suggested in 53 percent of 32 upgrades, downgrades and changes in credit outlook last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg published in December.

Investors ignored 56 percent of Moody’s rating and outlook changes and 50 percent of those by Standard & Poor’s. That’s worse than the longer-term average of 47 percent, based on more than 300 changes since 1974.

The euro region’s third-biggest economy shrank 2.4 percent last year as the country’s budget deficit narrowed to match the European Union limit of 3 percent.

Italy will probably contract again this year and unemployment will continue rising to reach 12 percent next year, European Commission forecasts released on Feb. 2 showed.

Fitch said today it expects Italy’s GDP to fall 1.8 percent this year as public debt peaks at almost 130 percent, up from 127 percent in 2012.

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