A court in Milan ruled to uphold an earlier acquittal, with the presiding judge saying: "The crime does not exist and he did not commit the crime."

Italy's richest man, he was first acquitted in 2004.

A law introduced by his government meant he could not be retried, but it was ruled unconstitutional, giving prosecutors a green light to appeal.

Berlusconi was accused of bribing judges to stop the sale of food group SME to a rival businessman in the 1980s.

Facing a five-year jail term, he called the accusations against him "completely unfounded".

"Berlusconi was very emotional," one of his lawyers, Gaetano Pecorella, said after the court ruling.

"It's a great result. After 11 years of effort Berlusconi has been recognised as completely innocent of all charges," his other lawyer in the case, Nicolo Ghedini, said.

Prosecutors may appeal the decision.