Prosecutors in Milan have asked a judge to order Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, and a British international lawyer, David Mills, to stand trial on corruption charges.
The prosecutors have accused Mr Berlusconi of paying Mr Mills a bribe of £350,000 for not revealing details of the prime minister's media empire when he testified in two previous court cases.
Mr Mills is the estranged husband of Britain's Culture Secretary, Tessa Jowell.
The crisis has cast doubt over Ms Jowell's future as a cabinet minister.
Meanwhile, polling in the Italian General Election takes place next month.