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MILAN (Reuters) - Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has won a delay in the resumption of his trial on tax fraud to January 18 because of pressing state business.
Judges agreed on Monday to the expected request by Berlusconi's lawyers for a postponement, saying there was "a legitimate impediment."
The centre-right leader, one of Italy's wealthiest men, is presiding over the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organisation's summit on world hunger in Rome.
The trial is one of two that Berlusconi, 73, faces following a decision by Italy's top court last month to lift his immunity from prosecution and let legal proceedings against him resume.
Berlusconi is accused of tax fraud and false accounting in the management of his media companies. Berlusconi has denied any wrongdoing.
The charges stem from acquisition of TV rights by broadcaster Mediaset SpA, controlled by Berlusconi's Fininvest SpA holding company. Prosecutors allege Mediaset bought the rights at an inflated price from two offshore companies controlled by the prime minister.
In a separate trial, Berlusconi is charged with paying a $600,000 (360,000 pounds) bribe to British lawyer David Mills to withhold incriminating details of his business dealings. Its next hearing is set for November 27.
Mills is in the process of appealing against his conviction in the case.
Berlusconi has said he has no intention of resigning even if he were convicted in one of the trials against him.
Italy's Constitutional Court ruled last month that a law passed by his government that gave him protection from prosecution while he holds office violated the constitution.
Berlusconi has repeatedly attacked the judicial system as overrun by "communist" magistrates out to destroy him.
Berlusconi's personal, political and legal problems are mounting from all sides, leading even pro-government newspapers and political allies to speak of a plot against him and a risk of early elections. Berlusconi's government has hastily drawn up a reform of the justice system which would extinguish the trials against him, but several allies have distanced themselves from the plan.
The reform was presented in the Senate on Thursday.