Entries in Silvio Berlusconi (20)


Italy's Former Prime Minister in Love Again

Ian Waldie/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Although he's lost his job and was sentenced to four years in prison for tax fraud, former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi still knows love is the most important thing in his life.

On Monday, it was announced that the 76-year-old tycoon had gotten engaged to his 27-year-old girlfriend, Francesca Pascale, described by her fiancée as "a beautiful girl, beautiful from the outside, but even more beautiful inside."

The age gap doesn't seem to disturb Berlusconi too much, who was previously married twice before and has five children.

Pascale may have her work cut out for her since Berlusconi is known to be something of a tomcat.  He was previously accused of having sex with an underage girl at one of his infamous "Bunga Bunga" parties at his villa in Milan.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


George Clooney Called to Testify at Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s Trial

(NEW YORK) -- Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi made a rare appearance at his trial in Milan, claiming movie star George Clooney can help him prove he did not have sex with an underage showgirl.

Berlusconi, a 76-year-old media mogul known for hosting infamous “bunga bunga” parties that are allegedly lavish orgies, is accused of paying a Moroccan showgirl, known as “Ruby the Heart Stealer” for sex more than a dozen times when she was underage.

Ruby claims she saw Clooney and and his ex-girlfriend, Elisabetta Canalis, at one of the bashes however Clooney has denied ever partying with the former prime minister.

“I spoke to their people and said, ‘I will come and testify if you’d like,’ because I wasn’t at the party that I was said to have been at. I wasn’t at his ‘bunga bunga’ party,” Clooney told Time Magazine last year.

Berlusconi admitted he gave Ruby nearly $80,000, but said it was for a beauty salon she planned to open.

Berlusconi is also accused of abusing his power after he allegedly got Ruby released from jail in 2010, claiming she was the Egyptian president’s niece.

“To have a big movie star come from Hollywood all the way to Italy to testify on your behalf, I mean that’s credibility for you,” said legal analyst Jean Casarez. “It also could give some respect to the defense itself.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi Resigns; Replacement Forming New Gov't

Ian Waldie/Getty Images(ROME) -- Silvio Berlusconi resigned Saturday night as Italy's prime minister, a move prompted by his country's desperate economic conditions.  He was replaced by former European Union Competition Commissioner Mario Monti, who on Sunday was tasked with forming Italy's new government.

The beginning of the end for the 75-year-old billionaire came last week. Italy’s 10-year bond yield had reached record levels due to crushing debt that threatens to bankrupt the country -- and send the rest of Europe into a tailspin which would also have severe repercussions in the U.S.

It became more evident that Berlusconi had to go when he lost his majority in parliament and cabinet ministers were unable to move forward on reforming Italy's economic and state structures.

Most agreed that nothing but stagnation happened during Berlusconi's third and last tenure as prime minister, which began in 2008. In addition to the mounting debt crisis, faith in the former prime minister was shaken by scandals involving corruption and alleged sex parties with prostitutes and other young women.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Italian Prime Minister Holding on to Job for Dear Life

Ian Waldie/Getty Images(ROME) -- Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said Monday that reports of his imminent political demise were greatly exaggerated.

The buzz throughout Italy and the rest of the world was that the 75-year-old leader was ready to resign under pressure by those who see him as preventing the country from getting out of its debt.

Berlusconi has been hampered by scandals throughout the year involving alleged sex romps with prostitutes and accusations of corruption.

But the billionaire keeps holding on even amid the worst crisis of his tenure as record Italian bond yields have raised borrowing costs to the point where Italy's economy is now close to the same precarious positions that Greece and Spain are in.

Berlusconi is said to be working feverishly to keep his conservative government from collapsing ahead of Tuesday's parliamentary vote that could force him out.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Euro Crisis Delays Berlusconi’s Album Release

Ian Waldie/Getty Images(ROME) -- A casualty of the European debt crisis is the release date of Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s new album of love songs.

The album, the fourth by the former cruise ship singer, was due for release in September, but is now scheduled for as late as Nov. 22 due to the country’s massive debt problems and his own legal issues, according to the Italian newspaper La Stampa.

The album, True Love, with words by Berlusconi and music by guitarist Mariano Apicella, even had a launch party planned in Milan, reported the Guardian.

The Italian prime minister reportedly sang at Bar Kontiki on the island of Elba in the 1950s and 1960s while he was studying law. Berlusconi, who has said he will not run for re-election in 2013, was even offered his old job again.

The CD’s release came as a European deal to decrease Greek’s debt, which could avoid a financial meltdown on the continent, threatens to unravel.

A billionaire mostly from his media empire, Berlusconi is serving his third and most tempestuous term as prime minister. He survived a vote of no-confidence on Oct. 14, and is facing two criminal investigations.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Italy's PM Silvio Berlusconi Survives Confidence Vote

Governo [dot] it(ROME) -- Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has survived the battle to remain the leader of Italy's governing coalition, winning Friday's confidence vote 316 to 301.

Thursday, in a 19-minute address to parliament ahead of Friday's vote, Berlusconi said he would not step down.  He insisted his governing majority was strong and there was "no credible alternative" to his leadership for a country going through such hard economic times.

Addressing a hall which was half empty as opposition parliamentarians vacated their seats in protest during his speech, he said that the government was calling for the confidence vote because "it is profoundly aware of the risks the country is facing and that the deadlines dictated by the markets are not compatible with political procedures."

This was not the time for early elections, he said, but if the government lost the vote, early elections would be the only alternative.

Friday's confidence vote was called after the government lost a key budget vote on Tuesday, partly because some of Berlusconi's parliamentarians were "distracted" and not present.  The defeat Tuesday prompted fresh calls from the center-left opposition for Berlusconi to resign in favor of a national unity government.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Couple Arrested for Blackmailing Italian PM Berlusconi

Photo Courtesy - Governo.It(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.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


World Leaders Weigh in on Osama Bin Laden's Death

AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- News of Osama bin Laden's death was cause for celebration in many countries around the world Monday, but the al Qaeda leader's death spurred mixed reactions in the Muslim world.

Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi said the terrorist's death was a "great result in the fight against evil," and French President Nicolas Sarkozy celebrated the "tenacity of the United States" in its long search for bin Laden.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the result of the raid was "a resounding victory for justice, for freedom and for the shared values of all democratic countries that fight shoulder to shoulder against terror."

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen called bin Laden's death a "significant success," and stressed that the NATO allies "will continue their mission to ensure that Afghanistan never becomes a safe haven for extremism, but develops in peace and security."

In Kenya, where a U.S. embassy was allegedly bombed by al Qaeda in 1998, President Mwai Kibaki remembered the 225 lives that were lost.

"His killing is an act of justice to those Kenyans who lost their lives and the many more who suffered injuries," he said.

But reaction in the Muslim world to the al Qaeda leader's death was predictably mixed.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai was greeted with applause when he delivered the news to local government leaders.

"I hope the death of Osama bin Laden will mean the end of terrorism," he said.  He also told reporters that the terrorist "received his due punishment," and that his hands "were dipped in the blood of thousands and thousands of children, youths and elders of Afghanistan."

Yet he also took the time to say that the battle against terrorism should be fought in Pakistan, and not in Afghan villages.

Meanwhile, in the same country, a rickshaw driver in Jalalabad hailed bin Laden as a hero in the Muslim world.

"His struggle was always against non-Muslims and infidels and against superpowers," Sayed Jalal said.

Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh condemned the United States for killing bin Laden, calling it a continuation of the American oppression and shedding of blood of Muslims and Arabs.

"Despite the difference in opinions and agenda between us and them, we condemn the assassination of a Muslim and Arabic warrior and we pray to God that his soul rests in peace," he told reporters in Gaza.

On the other hand, the leader of the Palestian Authority, Salam Fayyed, congratulated the United States on the raid.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Sex Trial of Italian Prime Minister Adjourned Minutes After Start

Governo [dot] it(MILAN) -- The trial of Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian prime minister accused of paying for sex with a minor, got underway in Milan Wednesday but was quickly adjourned to next month.

Berlusconi was not present at Wednesday's hearing, which lasted all but seven minutes.  The prime minister was instead in Rome, holding a meeting to discuss the situation over in Libya.

The trial will now kick off on May 31.

Prosecutors allege Berlusconi, 74, paid for sex with a then-17-year-old Moroccan girl known as Ruby and that he used the power of his office to try to cover it up.  The prime minister denies the allegations.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, new wiretaps leaked to the media suggesting that Berlusconi knew Ruby was not of adult age.

In a phone conversation, Berlusconi reportedly said: "Okay, what is important is that there are various people who can vouch for the fact that [Ruby] gave an age different to her real one.  Once that happens, there'll be nothing more to say.  We just helped her because we took pity on her.  Let's hope that it doesn't turn into a mess."

Ruby, whose real name is Karima El Mahroug, told a friend she was only 16 when she went to these parties.  She turned 18 last November.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Photos of Italian Prime Minister's Sex Party Leaked to Media

Governo [dot] it(MILAN) -- Italian prosecutors plan to introduce photos of scantily-clad young women attending Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's alleged "bunga bunga" orgy as evidence in the premier's upcoming prostitution and corruption trial, according to leaked legal dossiers.

Photos of a well-known Italian showgirl wearing a sexy skintight police costume, as well as dozens more featuring young women kissing and caressing each other, were leaked to the media from a 20,000-page prosecution report, according to British newspaper The Telegraph.

The showgirl has been identified as Barbara Guerra, 32.

The photos were seized by Italian prosecutors from the laptops and cameras of women who allegedly attended the orgy as guests, according to the Telegraph.

Berlusconi, 74, is alleged to have hosted a sex romp at his Milan villa last year.  Officials accuse him of paying for sex with 33 women in the span of two months.  But among those women, prosecutors take issue with only one, a then 17-year-old prostitute named Karima el-Mahroug but better known as Ruby the Heartstealer.

Prosecutors accused the prime minister of paying the young woman for sex and then using his position to curry favor with police when the Moroccan was arrested for theft.  Prostitution with minors under 18 years old is illegal in Italy. 

Berlusconi has denied all charges.  His trial is set to begin on April 6. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio