Italy's embattled Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi made a rare appearance in a court in Milan on Monday at the preliminary hearing of a case over allegations of fraud and embezzlement during the purchase of television broadcasting rights for inflated prices.
Berlusconi, however, denied any wrongdoing in the case. He is accused of tax evasion and false accounting linked to the purchase of TV and film rights in the United States by one of his media companies, namely Mediaset, in the late 1990s.
These accusations are unfounded and ridiculous. Berlusconi told Italy's broadcaster Canale 5. None of the facts on which the Milan prosecutors have built their case is true.
I've never dealt with the acquisition of TV rights, Berlusconi said.
Berlusconi, 74, is also set to stand trial beginning April 6 on charges of having sex with an underage girl. Berlusconi, already a defendant in two other ongoing trials, has not attended a trial for more than seven years.