[JURIST] Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] could face a third corruption trial based on new information that recently surfaced, according to Saturday reports. Berlusconi, who is already facing two separate trials on charges of corruption and bribery, is accused of embezzlement and tax fraud related to his television company Mediaset [official website, in Italian], though his lawyers have dismissed any substance to the charges [Reuters report]. Berlusconi's son and 11 other members of Mediaset's board are also implicated [Times report]. A Milan judge will decide if there is enough evidence to hold a trial, which could begin as early as February [AFP report].
In October, the Italian Constitutional Court [official website, in Italian] struck down a 2008 law granting immunity [JURIST report] to Berlusconi and four others, allowing charges to be reinstated. Earlier this week, the Italian Senate approved a bill [JURIST report] to place time limits on the trial process, which would have the effect of dismissing charges against Berlusconi. Last week, Italian judges postponed [JURIST report] Berlusconi's corruption trial at his lawyers' request. He is charged with paying his British lawyer David Mills [JURIST news archive] to provide false testimony in two trials involving Mediaset. Berlusconi's tax fraud trial has also been postponed [JURIST report]. Berlusconi has been previously acquitted of false accounting and bribery [JURIST reports], and has had some other charges against him dropped [JURIST report].