Berlusconi sex affairs 'risked national security'
Silvio Berlusconi faces an investigation by Italian MPs after officials expressed fears that the Italian prime minister's alleged patronage of prostitutes had put national security at risk.
Mr Berlusconi (74) has been summoned to appear before a parliamentary security committee to "clarify" his security arrangements following the latest allegations about his private life.
The secret services were reported to have told members of the committee that Mr Berlusconi's lifestyle and his relations with escorts and starlets could endanger national security.
Massimo D'Alema, the president of the committee and a former left-wing prime minister, said: "The secret services are entrusted with the security of the prime minister and we intend to return to this theme and consider it correct to hear what the prime minister has to say on the matter."
Mr D'Alema said he felt sympathy for police who were "weary" of escorting young women in and out of Mr Berlusconi's residences in Rome, Milan and Sardinia.
The Italian leader was accused last week of instructing police in Milan to drop theft charges against a teenage Moroccan belly dancer who had attended one of his parties and of paying a prostitute, Nadia Macri', €10,000 for intercourse at his villas in Sardinia and Milan.
He has not denied either accusation.
Ms Macri' (28) was questioned by prosecutors last month.
Italian newspapers claimed that girls as young as 17 and 18 took part in orgies at the prime minister's homes.
Young women have been allowed into the prime minister's private residences without undergoing proper screening, it has been claimed.
Security chiefs were reported to be particularly concerned that foreign women, some of them escorts from Eastern Europe, have attended Mr Berlusconi's dinners and pool parties.
Opposition MPs said Mr Berlusconi's alleged dalliances could expose him to blackmail.
"The suspicion exists that Berlusconi could potentially be blackmailed and that's a problem for national security," said Luigi De Magistris, an MEP with the Italy of Values party.
At the opening of a national conference of his party in Rome, Mr Berlusconi appeared to blame the mafia for engineering the sex scandals that have emerged over the past 10 days.
"No one can exclude that some of the things that are happening are the result of vendettas by the criminal underworld," he told members of his People of Freedom party, without elaborating on how the mafia might have masterminded the plot.
The prime minister received another blow when he was told he would no longer be welcome at a national conference on family values because he would be an "embarrassment".
He had been due to attend the conference in Milan on Monday but the head of a forum representing family associations, Francesco Beletti, said the premier's torrid private life was not "in tune" with the event. (© Daily Telegraph, London)