London: Silvio Berlusconi, who has been accused of allegedly paying a number of prostitutes including an underage girl, has claimed that he has not “done anything wrong”, and blamed the foreign press for his downfall.
He made the claim just hours before three people go on trial accused of recruiting prostitutes for his infamous “bunga bunga” parties.
Berlusconi, 75, who dramatically resigned as Italian Prime Minister earlier this month after losing his majority in parliament has been involved in a series of sleazy sex scandals involving escorts and an underage prostitute for more than two years.
At a court in Milan, Anglo-Italian dental hygienist turned regional councillor Nicole Minetti, 25, Showbusiness agent Lele Mora, 55, and Berlusconi’s best friend and TV news anchorman Emilio Fede, 80, go on trial accused of procuring women for him.
The media tycoon turned politician has always insisted nothing untoward happened at his parties, which were held at his home in Arcore near Milan, at his official residence in Rome, Palazzo Grazioli, and at his holiday villa in Sardinia.
Asked if his “style of life was a mistake”, Berlusconi replied, “That’s all false – it’s something that the foreign press have all fallen for. It’s as if we have achieved nothing in the three years that we have been in power.”
“It’s not like that at all – you just have to look at our foreign policy. My image has been ruined by things that are absolutely untrue,” the Telegraph quoted him as telling Corriere della Sera newspaper.
When asked about his relationship with businessman Giampaolo Tarantini, who is accused of bringing escorts to Palazzo Grazioli, Berlusconi said: “I have done nothing wrong. Tarantini just came for dinner. We had 17 dinners together.”
“He would always have beautiful girls with him but I had no idea he was paying them to come, I just thought he was a playboy,” he added.