Mediaset chair will stand trial


ROME -- Fedele Confalonieri, chairman of Italian broadcast giant Mediaset, will stand trial for tax fraud in October, he was informed Wednesday.

The news marks the latest in a series of investigations into Mediaset, and comes as its leading shareholder -- Silvio Berlusconi -- is about to embark on his fourth term as the country's prime minister.

Prosecuting Berlusconi for alleged wrongdoing has proven difficult while he has been in office. But that does not mean other Mediaset figures are immune from prosecution.

In this case, Confalonieri, a longtime Berlusconi associate, will stand trial on charges that he was guilty of widespread tax fraud in relation to a series of Mediaset deals involving cinema and television rights between 2000 and 2003.

Late last year, Confalonieri was dropped from a related case involving alleged kickbacks on the same deal, though Berlusconi remains under investigation on those counts. The tax fraud element of the case was separated from the main trial when a judge ruled in January that the proof for each part of the case was separate.