Silvio Berlusconi, doing his Jack Benny impersonation.
When we last left the Clown Prince of Italian politics, he was swatting away a buzzing cloud of whispers about his
Now, there are allegations that Berlusconi has, uh, "paid for play" with high-priced
A Milan court on Tuesday released its full reasoning for convicting Berlusconi's British tax lawyer David Mills of accepting a 600,000-dollar (440,000-euro) bribe from him in exchange for false testimony... Mills, the estranged husband of Britain's Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell, gave "false testimony... in order to grant impunity to Silvio Berlusconi and (his holding company) Fininvest... or at least to protect the considerable profits earned," according to the court's detailed findings.
A court in the southern Italian city of Bari is pushing an investigation into a possible prostitution ring, and want to question 30 women, some of whom are suspected to have been paid by a local businessman to attend parties held by Berlusconi, according to the Guardian UK Online. Ha ha ha -- that Silvio!
One of the guests already questioned – model Barbara Montereale – has alleged that a paid escort, Patrizia D'Addario, slept with the prime minister on 4 November. Yesterday, Montereale released photographs she alleges she took as souvenirs in Berlusconi's bathroom and described the large number of eastern European women she says she met during a visit to his villa in Sardinia.
Silvio! giving the University of Texas 'Armadillo
salute', and model Montereale (R), with Silvio's close,
um, "political ally" D'Addario (L).
Eastern European Women! Ho ho ho; I guess there are things not even the whores of Italy will do, eh, Silvio? Like his leggy supermodel friends turned, Cinderella-like, into cabinet ministers, Berlusconi apparently pushed local politicians allied to his party in Bari to run D'Addario as a candidate in local elections, but the hooker wasn't satisfied. "This is our moment," Bimbetto told her friend Montereale. "I will make [Berlusconi] pay, and we will become famous..."
(As prudish Americans, we've edited this picture --
but, girls; take our word for it: He's Un Poco Pene !!)
I guess it's the money, huh ? But, hey -- he's Silvio!! A young woman in the crowd at one of Berlusconi's campaign stops in Milan yelled, "Ask him about the prostitutes!", before she was hustled away by police. Ah, that Silvio!!
So, why should anyone care what this Jackass does? Possibly because this man is a head of state, the chief governmental figure of the Italian Republic. The heir to the agonizing struggle of the wars of Italian Unification (which created the whole Papal Infallibility thing -- and you thought it was a true religious question? Nahhh), the one to carry Garibaldi's banner forward through time; the representative of the martyrs of 1915-18 on the Isonzo; the victims of Italian and German Fascism. He's supposed to be the man whose office represents Italian culture -- Italo Calvino and Primo Levi, Pietro Annigioni and Michelangelo and Tiepolo (to name a few), Fiat, Maserati, Lamborghini, and Italy's prominence in industrial design to the world, rather than the fairly common excesses of his overblown ego.
You'd think he could conduct himself as one who represents all these things, and not a half-drunk Picasso impersonator, loudly declaiming his opinions and feeling up the women at dinner parties with his fly open, because, hey; he has billions! and he can!
The question many Italians are asking themselves is just that: How can our government (a wobbly coalition allegedly held together by this oversexed, corrupt toad) perform effectively for Italy in the EU? In the world? Is he in it for Italy, or to sell his influence to a circle of international oligarchs? Italy is hosting the G8 conference shortly; I'm sure European leaders -- such as Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel (whom Silvio once kept famously waiting for him while he had a long, public personal cellphone conversation) are asking similar questions.
Scuse, Signore Prime Minister; but El Papi
would like a word with you...