| 15.3°C Dublin

Berlusconi’s derogatory tirade against Angela Merkel’s figure caught on tape

SILVIO BERLUSCONI has reportedly been caught on tape using abusive remarks about German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s figure.

The Italian prime minister, 74, is accused of insulting his fellow European leader during a July phone conversation with an Italian journalist that was recorded by investigators probing a €757,000 blackmail plot against the Italian premier.

The phrase used translates into English as an “unf***able-lard**se”.

Hints about the contents of the taped conversation have been circulating in Italian newspapers for days.

In the same call, he also described Italy as a "shitty" country.

The story was picked up in some quarters of the German media; Bild newspaper ran the story under the headline: ‘Did Berlusconi insult our Chancellor Merkel?’ However, they stopped short of printing the exact comments used about the Chancellor.

Merkel and Berlusconi have had public mishaps in dealing with each other in the past. In 2009, when Berlusconi arrived in Germany for a NATO conference, he got out of his car while on his mobile and ignored Merkel. With the television cameras still rolling, he walked past her still talking on the phone.

Berlusconi reputation took a further blow yesterday when Italian prosecutors presented the results of a two-year inquiry yesterday, claiming many women ‘prostituted themselves’ with the prime minister in return for cash or other gifts.

Court papers included a claim that the man who provided women for the “bunga-bunga” sex parties had offered a well-known Italian actress the chance to present an annual song contest if she agreed to sleep with the 75-year-old prime minister. Manuela Arcuri, a well-known actress in her native land, said she refused.

Police this month arrested the man accused of supplying women for Berlusconi's parties, Giampaolo Tarantini, and his wife, on suspicion of blackmailing the prime minister through an intermediary.

In a deposition, Berlusconi insisted he made voluntary payments to the couple because they were in a "very difficult situation".

The prosecutors believe more than €500,000 was handed over.