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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Berlusconi Interrogated

MILAN () -- Italy's prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, was quizzed for hours in a graft probe by Milan's elite "Clean Hands" magistrates Tuesday as his government staggered ever closer to collapse.

Magistrates suspect Berlusconi of knowing about bribes paid by his Fininvest media group to tax police before he was swept to power in March elections. The billionaire premier, the first Italian prime minister to face a criminal investigation while in office, denies wrongdoing and says he will not resign.

The meeting with the magistrates, whose inquiries toppled Italy's corrupt political old guard, came as Berlusconi's five-party coalition was rocked by a warning from one of its key members that it only had weeks to live. Northern League leader Umberto Bossi said the government would fall once parliament approved the deficit-cutting 1995 budget.