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Italy's Berlusconi faces yet another sex scandal
Published in Bikya Masr on 18 - 09 - 2011

According to a myriad of transcripts of intercepted phone calls released in Italian newspapers, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has become involved in yet another sex scandal.
The scandal involves an Italian businessman name Gianpolo Tarantini, currently jailed, and under investigation for allegedly currying favor with the Prime Minister through prostitution. He is alleged to have paid countless women to sleep with Berlusconi at many of his parties in his private residencies in Rome, the Sardinia seacoast and near Milan.
Opposition leaders have called for an inquiry on Saturday to discover whether or not an Italian government aircraft was used to fly the women to Berlusconi's parties.
Prostitution itself is not a crime in Italy, but the exploitation of prostitutes to curry favor is. Tarantini is being accused of trying to curry such favor to win state contracts.
Currently, Tarantini is jailed for a separate enquiry where he is alleged to have extorted hundreds of thousands of dollars from Berlusconi. Berlusconi himself has defended Tarantini, saying the money he gave Tarantini and his wife, who was also arrested, was a gift because he is a “generous man trying to help a family in need.”
The Milan daily newspaper, Corriere della Sera, has quoted transcripts in which Berlusconi has been quoted telling Tarantini in a phone call that the plane, which was at his disposition was only available for use on the day of that conversation.
Apparently, Tarantini enquired as to whether or not he and some of the women involved would be allowed to travel with him from Rome to Milan, to which Berlusconi's reply was “you can.”
The Corriere della Sera reported that they omitted the “more vulgar passages depicting detailed sexual descriptions.”
Leoluca Orlandi, a member of the Italy of Values party, called for Berlusconi to admit, if the allegations are true, that government planes “paid with taxpayer money” to fly escorts to his parties.
Orlandi added in a statement that the party has asked the prime minister's office to conduct an urgent inquiry.
The intercepted conversations that will be used in the investigation may only be published once the courts have officially deposited them, according to official statements.
Amidst the flurry of all these allegations, concern has risen in Italy in regards to Berlusconi's ability to rescue the country from its economic issues.
“No one understands why the premier is dedicating a good deal of his time to questions not related to fighting the economic crisis and relaunching the economy,” Gianfranco Fini, a former Berlusconi ally, said at a rally.
According to Berlusconi's wife, who is currently divorcing him, the 75-year-old has a weakness for “young and beautiful women.”
Berlusconi is also on trial in Milan for allegedly having paid for sex with a Moroccan teenager. He has denied the charges, saying that the trial, as well as the many corruption cases in relation to his business empire, is part of a “conspiracy involving the prosecutors who are seeking to topple” him from power.
The speaker of the Chamber of Deputies has been cited suggesting Berlusconi should step down from office.
Berlusconi's supposed sexual boasts have him speak of his activities as conquests and achievements, mirroring the notion of using women as powerful symbols and tools in the world of Italian Politics.
La Repubblica, a daily newspaper from Rome, quoted him telling Tarantini in 2009 that he had 11 women lined up outside his room. According to the paper, he “only did 8 of them in one night because [he] couldn't do it anymore.” He added that while “you can't do all of them,” the next morning he felt “well, satisfied with [his] ability to resist the siege of a lifetime.”

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