Just when Silvio Berlusoni hopes to run for office after being sidelined by a tax-fraud conviction, a Milan judge has ordered him to be tried on corruption charges.

The Italian news agency ANSA, reporting from Milan, said Judge Carlo Ottone De Marchi set trial to begin April 5 in Milan.

Milan daily Corriere della Sera says the former three-time premier is accused of having shelled out some 10 million euros (dollars), plus expensive gifts, to 20 young women who attended sexy parties at his Arcore villa near Milan. Berlusconi's lawyers deny any wrongdoing by their client, saying he is being tried for his "generosity" to the women.

Prosecutors allege the center-right leader opposition aimed to "buy" the women's silence in various trials involving him.