The Swiss attorney general’s office has released some $140 million (CHF139 million) in blocked funds to two individuals recently declared innocent in a money laundering trial related to a company owned by Italy’s former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi.
The trial concerns a complex scheme involving offshore funds and illegal film rights purchases allegedly run by Berlusconi’s media conglomerate, Mediaset. Last week, a Rome court cleared two people of involvement: Berlusconi’s son, and Mediaset’s Chairman of the Board.
Their funds held in Switzerland were part of a series of accounts blocked by Swiss banks after the Milan prosecutor’s office first sought help with the case in 1996. Overall, Italy sought Switzerland’s legal assistance about 20 times in the case.
The Swiss attorney general’s office also opened a money laundering probe into the affair in 2005. However, it ended in 2011, with most of the charges barred from investigation by statutes and the rest already under inquiry in Italy.
swissinfo.ch and agencies