A British judge has rejected a bid by former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to block evidence relating to corruption allegations being transmitted by video link from Britain to an Italian court.
In a case dating back to 1997, Berlusconi is accused of bribing lawyer David Mills, husband of a former cabinet minister, with $600,000 (387,647 pounds) to give false evidence about his business interests.
The affair was one of several controversies that plagued the former Italian prime minister throughout his 17 years in power, before he was forced from office earlier this month by an Italian debt crisis.
Berlusconi had sought to prevent Mills giving video-link evidence to Milan from City of Westminster Magistrates' court on Monday, but judge David Bean refused the former prime minister's application for an injunction, the Press Association reported late on Thursday.
Should Berlusconi be found guilty, the verdict would in any case be little more than symbolic as his lawyers would then be likely to appeal and the case would have to be dropped because the alleged offence was committed too long ago to be punished.
Mills was convicted of taking the bribe from Berlusconi and sentenced to 4-1/2 years in jail by an Italian court in a separate trial, but a higher court effectively killed the case because of rules over the maximum time after an event that a case can be pursued.
Mills and his wife, then-cabinet minister Tessa Jowell, announced a separation in 2006 when his dealings with Berlusconi became public, but never announced a divorce. Jowell says a cabinet investigation cleared her of wrongdoing. Her office declined on Friday to comment on the state of the marriage.
Berlusconi has several court cases against him - including a sex trial in which he is accused of paying for sex with an underage prostitute and then abusing his power to cover up the affair.
The former prime minister denies all charges and says he is the victim of politically motivated campaign.
(Reporting by Mohammed Abbas; Editing by Peter Graff)