Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi caved to pressure Tuesday and withdrew a controversial amendment to Italy’s austerity bill that would have saved his company hundreds of millions in damages, The FT reports.Berlusconi inserted a clause into Italy’s austerity bill saying that his company Fininvest did not have to pay the €750 million ($1 billion) in damages that it owed.
This legislative move caused friction with Italy’s Northern League. Reuters reports that Northern League leader Umberto Bossi threatened to pull out of the government if Berlusconi did not remove the controversial amendment.
Berlusconi called the outrage a “shameful ballyhoo”, but bowed to pressure and removed the amendment anyway.
Silvana Mura, from Italy’s centre-left Values party said that “Berlusconi had been caught with a mouse in his mouth.”
Mura added, “this government is getting weaker and up until today a personal law (for Berlusconi) had never been withdrawn in such quick time.”
Indeed, the whole “ballyhoo” started with a legal battle where Berlusconi’s company Fininvest was charged with bribing a judge in order to takeover another company.
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