Italian police have arrested six people who are suspected of holding former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s accountant captive and attempting to extort Berlusconi for $45 million.
Police on Monday told the Gazzetta del Sud publication that last month, the six held Berlusconi accountant Giuseppe Spinelli and his wife hostage at gunpoint for 24 hours.
They are also accused of using Spinelli as a medium to negotiate with the former prime minister to extort him for $45 million in exchange for Spinelli’s freedom and documents the kidnappers claimed were important.
Police told Euro News that Berlusconi did not give them any money, but police were curious as to why the former premier did not report the incident immediately.
“As a most urgent step we’re trying to understand what happened in the very first 12 hours, during the kidnapping, what followed will be the next step of the inquiry,” police spokesman Alessandro Giuliano said.
The assailants claimed that the documents could overturn a 2011 court ruling that said one of Berlusconi’s companies must pay around $710 million to a rival group for corrupt practices during the takeover of publishing group Mondadori, according to Euro News.
“Spinelli was suffering from shock. He could not say he had been taken hostage because he feared for his wife’s life” while he spoke with Berlusconi, said one of the former prime minister’s lawyers, reported AFP.
“He was terrified, he was still being threatened with weapons,” the lawyer added.
Those who were arrested included three Italians and three Albanian nationals, the Gazzetta reported.
The Epoch Times publishes in 35 countries and in 19 languages. Subscribe to our e-newsletter.