MILAN Oct 3 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)