Silvio Berlusconi cleared of false bookkeeping charges

A Milan court on Monday cleared Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi of charges of false bookkeeping in a case involving funding for the former Socialist party, his lawyer said.

Lawyer Nicolo Ghedini told The Associated Press the charge, under revised Italian penal law, is no longer a crime.

Prosecutors had accused Berlusconi of funneling money through holding company All Iberian to fund the Socialist Party of former Italian Premier Bettino Craxi in 1991 and of false bookkeeping to cover up the transfers.

Berlusconi and Craxi were close friends, and the late premier promoted policies that helped Berlusconi expand his media empire, the AP says.

Italian law was changed a few years ago to decriminalize false bookkeeping.

An appeals court in 1999 cleared Berlusconi of other charges stemming from the All Iberian probe.

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