ROME, Oct. 23 (Xinhua) -- Prosecutors in Italy's Naples on Wednesday sent former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi to trial for allegedly bribing a former senator to change political sides, local reports said.
The probe involved 3 million euros (about 4 million U.S. dollars) allegedly paid to Senator Sergio De Gregorio, who defected from the center-left during Romano Prodi's 2006-2008 government to join Berlusconi's center-right party.
According to ANSA news agency, the trial will start on Feb. 11. Valter Lavitola, an associate of Berlusconi, was also indicted for allegedly acting as a go-between.
Berlusconi is also appealing to Italy's highest court a two-year ban from holding public offices, which was handed in by a Milan appeals court last week for tax fraud of his television network.
Meanwhile the Senate is expected to vote in the next weeks on whether to expel the 77-year-old following the guilty verdict in the basis of a 2012 anti-corruption law.
The tax fraud conviction, which was the first final guilty verdict for Berlusconi in 20 years of fighting legal cases, also included a jail term which was reduced from four years to one year by a 2006 pardon.
The three-time premier and media tycoon has filed a request to Milan prosecutors to do one year of social work rather than house arrest to serve the verdict.
He is then appealing other sentences in separate probes on paying a minor for sex and for being involved in the publication of an illegally obtained wiretap in Italian courts.
Berlusconi, who has ruled Italy for almost 10 years, has been tried in around 30 cases but he was never given a definitive conviction as verdicts have always either been overturned on appeal or the statute of limitations ran out.
He has denied any wrongdoing in each case claiming that he was the victim of persecution by a left-wing judiciary.
Lately Berlusconi failed in an attempt to bring down Prime Minister Enrico Letta's coalition government when some members of his center-right party disobeyed him for the first time ahead of a crucial confidence vote in parliament.