Federal Prosecutor Okays Giving Documents to Italy for Berlusconi Probe
BERN, Switzerland (AP) _ Switzerland’s prosecutor’s office on Wednesday approved releasing bank and corporate documents to Italian anti-corruption investigators probing former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.
Falco Galli, spokesman for the Federal Office for Police Affairs, told The Associated Press that the Swiss prosecutor’s office decided Sept. 15 in favor of releasing the documents.
Unless an appeal to the Federal Tribunal, the Swiss supreme court, is filed within 30 days, the documents will be turned over to the Milan prosecutor’s office, Galli said.
Italian news media have speculated that the documents will play a major role in the case against Berlusconi. But the former prime minister has said he has nothing to fear from the Swiss papers and that the Italian authorities are only trying to undermine his political future.
A Milan hearing scheduled on the prosecution’s request to indict Berlusconi on bribery charges has been postponed until Sept. 28.
Italy’s request for the Swiss documents has been shrouded in secrecy, but in a decision made public last June the Federal Tribunal ruled in favor of handing them over to Italy.
The Swiss prosecutor’s office then unsealed the papers, which concern Berlusconi and his Fininvest SpA group, and selected which ones to give the Milan authorities.
The Milan investigating judge has requested the papers for three proceedings _ concerning bribery of officials, aiding and abetting criminal activity and giving false accounts of business dealings.