[JURIST] The Italian Court of Cassation ruled Friday that former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] should face trial in an appeals court on corruption charges [BBC backgrounder]. Berlusconi was accused of bribing judges to stop the auction of the SME state-owned food company to a rival in 1985, but was acquitted [BBC report] in December 2004. A law [text, in Italian] passed by Berlusconi's government barred prosecutors from appealing the case after the initial acquittal, but the Italian Constitutional Court ruled last month that the law violated Articles 3 and 34 of the Italian constitution [text, in English]. Berlusconi's lawyer said that Friday's decision would have no practical effect since the statute of limitations had already run.
Berlusconi, a media mogul and Italy's richest man, has faced numerous allegations of corruption in the past. In 2006, he was ordered to stand trial for embezzlement, false accounting, tax fraud, money laundering, and giving false testimony [JURIST reports] at trials involving his broadcasting company Mediaset [corporate website]. Last month, a judge threw out some of the tax fraud charges [JURIST report] against Berlusconi because the statute of limitations had expired. AP has more.