Italian PM’s account shows lavish spending

Silvio Berlusconi reportedly gave EUR 562,000 to 14 young women last year.

Rome: From jewels and antiques to loans for young starlets, Italy`s billionaire Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi spent EUR 34 million (USD 47 million) in 2010, an Italian newspaper reported on Wednesday.

The 74-year old Premier splashed out EUR 120,000 (USD 166,000) on ties and another EUR 65,000 on jewels, according to details from a bank account examined during a probe into his alleged relations with an underage prostitute.

The mogul also spent EUR 675,000 on a castle he rents in northern Italy and EUR 900,000 on gas and electricity bills at his Caribbean home in tax haven Antigua, as well as EUR 650,000 at antiques shops and art galleries.

As the investigation unfolded into Ruby the Heart Stealer, the exotic young pole dancer at the heart of a sex scandal set to land Berlusconi in the dock in April, a host of would-be showgirls claimed he had showered them with gifts.

According to details of the account published by Corriere della Sera, the romancing Prime Minister gave EUR 562,000 to 14 young women last year, as well as EUR 40,000 as a wedding gift to one of his secretaries.

The mother of Noemi Letizia -- the teenage model whose rumoured ties with Berlusconi caused his wife to file for divorce -- received EUR 20,000.

Letizia has defended Berlusconi and says she used to call him "Papi".

Berlusconi`s lawyer Niccolo Ghedini said the publication of details of the account was "a clear violation of privacy" and denied he had received EUR 441,000 mentioned in the report as part of hefty legal fees for Berlusconi.

Bureau Report

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