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   Berlusconi Sues Authors

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Berlusconi Sues Authors

The Associated Press reported on June 26 that Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi has sued the authors of a best-selling book about the origins of his fortune for $9.7 million.

Authors Marco Travaglio and Elio Veltri and their publisher were named in the lawsuit, which was filed over a year after the book The Smell of Money' was published.

The book alleges that Berlusconi's media-rich empire was founded on "mob money." It didn't attract much notice until after Travaglio discussed the contents of the book on a television talk show during last year's national election campaign. Then the book became a best-seller.

Shortly thereafter, Berlusconi, his holding company Fininvest, his broadcaster Mediaset and his political party mounted a $9 million lawsuit against Travaglio, the TV talk show host and the director of the state TV station that aired the show.

This second lawsuit focuses on the contents of the book.

Berlusconi, whose politics are right-wing, is reputed to be Italy's wealthiest person. Before entering politics in 1994, he built an empire worth over $7 billion, with major holdings in real estate development, media, sports and other businesses.

Travaglio, a journalist who writes for La Repubblica newspaper, with a reputation for leaning to the left, has maintained that the book has only reproduced official documents.


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This story was published on July 3, 2002.
  
JULY 2002
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