25/02/2012 09:18 GMT | Updated 26/04/2012 06:12 BST

Silvio Berlusconi Avoids Corruption Charge Over Payments To British Lawyer David Mills

Silvio Berlusconi has avoided a corruption charge in Italy because it expired under the statute of limitations.

The case, which dates have to the 1990s, involves accusations that the former Italian prime minister paid a British lawyer, David Mills, £382,000 to lie in court.

Berlusconi denied any wrongdoing in the case. Mills, who was not on trial, also denied taking the money from the former PM.

Prosecutors had asked for a five-year prison sentence.

The corruption case was just one of several court battles Berlusconi is fighting, and which dogged his political career until he was forced to leave office amid the Italian debt crisis last year.

He is currently facing two separate trials for alleged tax fraud and for having sex with an underage hooker.

In 2009 Berlusconi estimated that in the last twenty years he had made 2,500 court appearances in 106 trials, and spent more than 200m euros on legal fees fighting accusations of false accounting, tax evasion and bribery of a judge.