Berlusconi says was forced out by EU ‘plot’

Berlusconi says was forced out by EU ‘plot’

Wed May 14, 2014 9:27PM GMT

Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi says he was forced out of office as a result of a “plot” by European Union officials.

Berlusconi made the remarks on Wednesday, following the publication of a book authored by former US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.

The book titled “Stress Test: Reflections on Financial Crises”, hinted that the US government had been asked to help force Berlusconi to resign during the 2011 euro zone crisis.

“At one point that fall, a few European officials approached us with a scheme to try to force Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi out of power; they wanted us to refuse to support IMF [International Monetary Fund] loans to Italy until he was gone,” Geithner wrote in his book.

The former prime minister also said that the book showed there had been a “clear violation of democratic rules and an attack on the sovereignty of our country”.

Berlusconi, who served as Italy’s prime minister from 1994 to 2011, resigned in November 2011 after coming under fire for mishandling the Italian economy.

Berlusconi was expelled from the Italian parliament in November 2013 over his conviction for tax fraud, and was sentenced to four years in jail. Later, his jail term was commuted to one year by a general amnesty.

Last August, the 77-year-old tycoon was found guilty of organizing a complex system of tax evasion, making it the first definitive conviction against him after dozens of trials in almost 20 years of political career.

Earlier this month, Berlusconi began a year of community service at a care home over his tax fraud conviction.

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