(ROME) -- Police arrested a couple for allegedly extorting money from Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.
Officials say 36-year-old Gianpaolo Tarantini paid escorts to attend Berlusconi's infamous bunga bunga parties. Tarantini, together with his wife 34-year-old Angela Devenuto, received half a million euros from Berlusconi as payment for telling prosecutors that the 74-year-old was unaware that women at his parties were prostitutes.
Berlusconi admits to the payments but says he paid them as an act of charity to a family in need. In addition to the 500,000 euro, the premier made monthly payments to the couple through an intermediary, Valter Lavitola, who is wanted by police.
Police listened to phone conversations between the couple and Lavitola in which they learnt of the scheme. They say Berlusconi received implied threats despite his denial to the contrary.
While Berlusconi is a victim in this case, he is facing a legal battle in Milan after allegations he had sex with a 17-year-old Moroccan woman and aided in her release after she was arrested for suspicion of theft.
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