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Italy's Fastweb founder acquitted of tax fraud

ROME/MILAN (Reuters) - The founder of Italy's second-biggest telecoms company, Fastweb, was acquitted on Thursday of tax fraud related to a money-laundering scandal.

Silvio Scaglia was arrested in 2010 for suspected tax evasion related to the case in which more than 2 billion euros ($2.73 billion) were allegedly laundered through fake international phone service purchases and sales.

Prosecutors had sought 56 people in connection with the case. Fastweb and Telecom Italia unit Sparkle were drawn into the scandal and denied wrongdoing.

Ex-Telecom Italia director Stefano Mazzitelli was also acquitted of tax fraud on Thursday along with five others. Businessman Gennaro Mokbel was sentenced to 15 years in jail.

"It is an important moment because it has been nearly four years of a very tough battle," Scaglia told Reuters. "I was acquitted but all managers of Fastweb and Telecom Italia were acquitted as well."

Scaglia, one of Italy's richest men, was released in February 2011 pending the outcome of his trial.

($1 = 0.7319 euros)

(Reporting by Paolo Biondi and Isla Binnie; editing by Tom Pfeiffer)

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