Prosecutors file corruption charges against Berlusconi

ROME (AFP) - Italian prosecutors on Thursday filed charges against former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi for allegedly bribing a left-wing senator with 3.0 million euros (S$4.8 million) to join his party.

The announcement from the prosecutor's office in Naples comes a day after a Milan court upheld Berlusconi's conviction in a separate case of tax fraud linked to his Mediaset business empire.

Prosecutors allege that the media baron paid off senator Sergio De Gregorio after parliamentary elections in 2006 won by a centre-left coalition led by Dr Romano Prodi by just a handful of votes.

A few months later, senator De Gregorio crossed the aisle and joined the Berlusconi opposition in a move that helped bring down Dr Prodi in 2008.

The subsequent elections were won handily by Berlusconi.

The investigation is based in Naples since that was senator De Gregorio's seat.

The scandal-tainted Berlusconi, 76, has been a defendant in multiple court cases in his two decades in politics and has two convictions.

He is also a defendant in a trial in which he is accused of paying for sex with an under-age, 17-year-old prostitute while he was prime minister and for abusing the powers of his office.