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Berlusconi to appear in court on Monday: lawyer

world Updated: Mar 27, 2011 20:19 IST

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Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is expected to attend a court hearing on Monday over allegations of breach of trust in his business interests, media reports quoted his lawyer as saying.

"The plan is for the prime minister to attend the hearing on Monday but if he has institutional duties it's obvious that he will not be able to come," said his lawyer Piero Longo, the reports said on Sunday.

The hearing in Milan is set to decide whether Berlusconi, a billionaire tycoon-turned-politician whose family now runs his media empire, should stand trial for the case involving his company Mediatrade.

Piersilvio Cipolotti, a member of the law office representing Berlusconi, said that Berlusconi "could make a spontaneous declaration" at the hearing.

Berlusconi, 74, is already a defendant in two ongoing trials and is also set to stand trial starting on April 6 on charges of having sex with an underage prostitute and then using his position to try and cover up the alleged crime.

The abuse of office charge carries a sentence of up to 12 years in prison.

He has denied all charges and has accused prosecutors of conspiring against him in a left-wing plot. He has said he wants to attend court hearings in order to defend himself in front of the Italian people.

Berlusconi has received convictions in the past during a long history of legal woes but he has always either won appeals or had the cases against him thrown out after they dragged on beyond a statute of limitations.