Silvio Berlusconi's crooning gets him in trouble with Italian rapper
SILVIO Berlusconi has been accused of plagiarism after drawing on his cruise ship crooning days to pen a rousing new song for his party as it looks towards elections next year.
The former Italian prime minister, who resigned in November amid sex scandals and an acute economic crisis, claimed to have written the anthem in just three-and-a-half hours. Called 'People of Liberty', it includes the line "We are the people who hope and who fight, who believe in the dream of liberty!"
But he has been accused of ripping off the words of the song by an Italian rap artist called J.Ax.
The musician, whose real name is Alessandro Aleotti, has warned he may take legal action over the alleged plagiarism – threatening the ageing playboy with yet another judicial entanglement.
The rapper, from Mr Berlusconi's home town of Milan, claims the song's lyrics bear a suspicious similarity to a song he wrote a decade ago called "People who hope".
The singer expressed his anger on his Twitter account, writing: "Tomorrow I will file a complaint against Berlusconi. F***ing incredible."
Mr Berlusconi, 75, is also reportedly mulling a change to the name of his party, from People of Freedom to 'Forza Italiani' – 'Go, Italians!"
The new name would invoke 'Forza Italia', the political movement the self-made billionaire first founded when he turned from business to politics in the early 1990s.
He appears to have dropped a previous suggestion that the party should be renamed 'Forza Gnocca!' or 'Go Pussy!" – a joke which prompted fury from opposition parties, female MPs and women's groups.
Since resigning, Mr Berlusconi has said he wants to act as a guiding "father figure" to his party.
But he remains mired in judicial problems – he is a defendant in four trials for tax fraud, bribery, abuse of office and paying for sex with an alleged under-age prostitute, a Moroccan-born teenage dancer nicknamed Ruby the Heart Stealer.
In the bribery case, he is accused of paying $600,000 to his British former tax lawyer, David Mills, in exchange for him providing false evidence in corruption trials in the late 1990s.
A verdict in the trial is expected this month. Last week the media mogul launched the umpteenth attack against the judiciary, accusing judges and magistrates of being politically biased and out to destroy him.