October 3, 2016 / 10:26 AM / 10 months ago

Berlusconi has heart check-up in U.S., misses trial hearing -lawyers

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MILAN, Oct 3 (Reuters) - Former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi has flown to the United States for tests on his heart condition, meaning he could not attend the start of a new trial on Monday tied to his "bunga bunga" parties, his lawyers said.

The lawyers said Berlusconi had checked into the Presbyterian Columbia University Medical Center in New York for a medical visit almost four months after undergoing major open heart surgery in Italy.

Berlusconi turned 80 last week and had a party with family and friends to celebrate. There has been no indication of any worsening of his condition.

The media tycoon had been due in court on Monday for a preliminary hearing in a case where he is accused of handing out about 10 million euros ($11 million) in bribes to persuade guests at his private parties to keep quiet about the revelries.

Berlusconi denies the allegations.

He was acquitted last year of having sex with an under-aged prostitute at his parties. The judge ruled that it could not be proved that he knew the woman was just 17 at the time. (Writing by Crispian Balmer; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

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