Mr Berlusconi took umbrage to the undertones of this heinous insinuation, and promptly took the revered publication to court on accusations of defamation, and lost!
Well, the court case, heard in Milan incidentally, has come to a conclusion and the first round goes to the Economist. Therefore, at least one Italian court agrees that back in 2001, the Economist was fully justified in questioning Berluconi’s fitness to run Italy, and seeing as the article basically backs up its front page declaration, the Italian court appears to have confirmed that Mr B was unfit to lead Italy!
What will happen now, I would bet lots of Euros on, is that Berlsuco will appeal this scurrilous decision and fight the case all the way to Italy’s top court, which is La Cassazione. It is also probable that the Italian prime minister’s lawyers will also attempt to move the case to a court which is run by more Berlusconi friendly judges.
The saga will smoulder on, much like the Neapolitan rubbish did before Berlusco sorted the situation out, with a little help from around 500,000,000 Euros.
It would be interesting to know just how this 500 million was spent, or rather who it went to.
Incidentally, the Naples trash problem still exists, as residents of the small towns and villages surrounding the southern Italian city well know, or so my sources tell me.
Sorry, I digressed for a moment. We should all carefully bear in mind that the Economist case refers to Berlusco’s first term in office, and not to his current term.