MILAN, June 11 (Reuters) - Prominent Italian businessman Marco Tronchetti Provera was acquitted on Thursday in a case about alleged industrial espionage at Telecom Italia dating back to the early 2000s.
Tronchetti Provera, who headed Telecom Italia from 2001 to 2006 and is now chairman of tyre maker Pirelli, was handed a suspended jail sentence of 20 months in July 2013 when he was found guilty of using stolen information.
The businessman, who has always denied any wrongdoing, appealed against the conviction, and in April he gave up his right to benefit from Italy's statute of limitations.
"This matter has dragged on for 10 years, I was confident truth would prevail," Tronchetti Provera, 67, said after he was acquitted by a Milan appeal court on Thursday.
"I believe it shows one must trust the justice system even when it is hard to do so."
Public prosecutors had asked for the earlier court decision to be upheld.
The case revolves around the alleged purchase of hacked data about the activity of an agency that was spying on Telecom Italia during a dispute over the control of Brasil Telecom.
It was part of a broader probe involving accusations that some former Telecom Italia employees spied on Italian public figures by stealing sensitive data. An Italian judge shelved the case last year. (Reporting by Manuela D'Alessandro; Editing by Pravin Char)