Friday 9 December 2016

Top Italian porn star rides to Berlusconi's defence

Tom Kington In Rome

Published 23/01/2011 | 05:00

Silvio Berlusconi. Photo: AP
Silvio Berlusconi. Photo: AP

THE debate raging in Italy about Silvio Berlusconi's alleged taste for teenage girls and prostitutes has taken a surreal turn, after Italy's top porn star weighed in with high praise for the prime minister.

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"The truth is," said Rocco Siffredi, "that Italians are proud of someone like Mr Berlusconi who is 74, loves sex and has a good sex life, and I don't just mean working-class Italians."

Siffredi, 46, is now a celebrity in Italy, frequently appearing on chat shows.

He said that if Mr Berlusconi can avoid jail time for allegedly paying a teenager for sex and pressuring the police into covering it up, he will be forgiven by Italian voters.

"In any other country he would have been forced out years ago, but here he gets away with it, even if he really should be paying more attention to what he does," said Siffredi.

Following Mr Berlusconi's refusal to submit to questioning, magistrates will now request he stand trial before the summer without a pre-trial hearing. His lawyers are expected to try to halt the trial by arguing that it should be handled by a special tribunal for politicians.

Two years after Mr Berlusconi's wife left him over his friendship with teenager Noemi Letizia, and a prostitute, Patrizia D'Addario, claimed to have slept with him, Mr Berlusconi is again facing harsh criticism after accusations he had sex with pole-dancing prostitutes at parties at his mansion near Milan. One guest, Nadia Macri, described Mr Berlusconi lying on a bed calling out "Next", as women queued to have sex with him.

Prosecutors are examining allegations that he paid to sleep with Moroccan nightclub dancer Karima El Mahroug when she was 17. It has also been alleged that Mr Berlusconi pressured police to free her when she was later arrested on suspicion of theft.

On Friday,the Vatican demanded "a more robust morality and sense of justice and legality" from Italy's rulers. The church also backed the alarm raised by the Italian president, Giorgio Napolitano, over Mr Berlusconi's so-called 'bunga bunga' nights, when women allegedly participated in striptease games.

The fallout from the continuing revelations has created the most serious test of Mr Berlusconi's premiership. Opposition leader Pierluigi Bersani has vowed to collect 10 million signatures calling for Mr Berlusconi to step down.

In another embarrassing development, the head of the residents' association at a Milan apartment complex last week evicted a dozen or so "models" allegedly housed there by Mr Berlusconi.

Beppe Severgnini, an Italian columnist said it was too soon to write Mr Berlusconi off, adding, "All Italians have a slight affinity with Mr Berlusconi . . . he is a walking absolution for our sins and we have been living in the valley of complicity a long time.

"Now we are at the watershed of embarrassment, and if the mood shifts to disgust, then it could be over for him, but we may be heading for a state of denial."

© Observer

Sunday Independent

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