martedì 13 maggio 2014

Geithner's book fans suspicions of plot to oust Berlusconi

Ex-premier's party demands parliamentary inquest

(ANSA) - Rome, May 13 - The party of Silvio Berlusconi demanded a parliamentary inquest on Tuesday after a new book by former US Treasury secretary Timothy Geithner fomented suspicions of a coordinated plot among European leaders to oust the three-time premier from office at the height of the sovereign-debt crisis in 2011. “The decisive proof of a European plot against Italy to bring down Silvio Berlusconi comes from Obama's America," said Renato Brunetta, the House whip of the center-right Forza Italia (FI). "We urgently call for the formation of a parliamentary investigation committee, embodied with the full powers of the Constitution". In his 580-page book Stress Test, Geithner recounts interactions with fellow members of the Obama administration as it sought to repair the nation's financial system in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. The former Treasury secretary writes that in 2011, at a G-20 meeting, Europeans were pushing the White House to get involved in pressuring Berlusconi out of office, as Italy risked a Greek-style financial meltdown with the spread between Italian 10-year bonds and their German counterpart ballooning to over 500 points and yields above 7%.

In his account, Geithner was opposed to interfering, writing, "We can't have his blood on our hands". The Italian premier eventually stepped down in November 2011 as MPs from his party defected and upset his majority. Berlusconi, a billionaire media magnate banned from office last year for a 370-million-euro tax fraud, has long claimed he is the victim of an organized left-wing conspiracy, citing his 20 years of legal entanglements as proof. House whip Brunetta said Tuesday that Berlusconi's "political and judicial ouster was the apex" of the alleged plot.

In addition to his ban from office, the 77-year-old ex-premier is currently performing community service at a nursing home as part of his four-year commuted sentence. He is also appealing a seven-year sentence for buying sex from an underage prostitute nicknamed Ruby and abusing his office in an attempt to cover it up. And in another case, he is on trial for allegedly bribing a Senator with millions of euros to switch parties and destabilize the government of Romano Prodi. In each case, Berlusconi denies all wrongdoing. 

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