6 arrested in extortion plot on Berlusconi

Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi talks to journalists during a press conference following a cabinet meeting at Rome's Chigi palace, Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2011. (Pier Paolo Cito)

November 19, 2012 8:17:13 AM PST
Italian police have arrested six people accused of trying to extort ex-Premier Silvio Berlusconi for ?35 million ($45 million) in exchange for documents they claimed could help him in a legal case.

Milan police squad chief Alessandro Giuliano said Monday that three of the six had held one of Berlusconi's closest advisors hostage for 11 hours in his home last month until he reached Berlusconi by phone to demand the money.

Berlusconi's attorney, Nicolo Ghedini, told reporters he spoke to the hostage-takers that day and refused to give them any money until he saw the documents.

Apparently that's all that was needed to free Berlusconi's treasurer, Giuseppe Spinelli. Police later identified the ringleader by his red and black sneakers - colors of his favorite team AC Milan, which Berlusconi owns.