[JURIST] An Italian judge has thrown out some tax fraud and false accounting charges against former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] because the statute of limitations has expired. Berlusconi and co-defendant David Mills [Guardian profile] will no longer have to face tax fraud and accounting charges related to events before the end of 1998 and fraud charges prior to July 1999. The charges stemmed from allegations [JURIST report] that, in deals struck between 1994 to 1999, Berlusconi's media empire Mediaset [corporate website] falsely reported broadcast royalties paid for US films, thus avoiding taxes totaling 125 billion old lire.
Charges against Berlusconi from 1999 still stand and prosecutors only have until November 2007 to complete the current trial against the former prime minister. Berlusconi has faced numerous criminal trials, but has never been found guilty. In September 2005 he was cleared of false accounting charges and in June 2005 he was acquitted on bribery charges [JURIST reports]. AFP has more.