Playboy Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi‘s already rock bottom reputation and credibility sank to new lows today.
It has been revealed that the contents of more than 100,000 (yes, you read that correctly – one hundred thousand plus) intercepted bunga bunga case telephone conversations are about to see the light of day. Not only this, but Berlusconi is about to face charges of revealing state secrets.
The first sordid titbits are already starting to see the cold light of day. Allegedly Silvio Berlusconi, through his go-between party organizer, Gianpolo Tarantini, attempted to persuade Italian TV beauty Manuela Arcuri to spend the night with him. In return for her company, Arcuri would have been rewarded with a top spot at Italy’s annual San Remo music festival. Arcuri reportedly refused the indecent proposal.
Tarantini, amongst other things, is being investigated in connection with running a prostitution ring and cocaine dealing and is also suspected of having tried to blackmail Silvio Berlusconi. It is believed that Tarantini was paid to keep quiet about Berlusconi’s sordid encounters with escorts and the now infamous bunga bunga parties. Berlusconi is denying that any attempt at blackmail exists or existed, but has been doing his level best to avoid meeting investigators who would love to speak to him.
While Berlusconi does not deny that he paid something like 840,000 Euros in cash to Tarantini, he maintains that he was merely helping out a friend in need. What an interesting friend for the Prime Minister of a country to have? A suspected drug dealer and pimp.
The man acting as a go-between for Berlusconi, a fixer known as Valter Lavitola, was told by Berlusconi to stay out of Italy – presumably so he could not be asked any searching questions.
Berlusconi’s lawyers continue to maintain that the bunga bunga parties were no more than innocent soirées.
Berlusconi To Be Charged with Revealing State Secrets
Today, on top of the additional bunga bunga revelations, it is looking as if Silvio Berlusconi, and his newspaper owning brother, is likely to face charges over the revealing of state secrets. The story goes that Berlusconi was was given access to stolen tapes of intercepted wiretaps regarding conversations which involved an opposition party member of parliament, one Piero Fassino, in connection with the take-over of a bank.
Transcripts of said tapes were subsequently published by Berlusconi’s brother’s newspaper in the notoriously Berlusconi friendly Il Giornale back in late December 2005.
At the time of the publication of the tapes, the editor of Il Giornale was avid Berlusconi supporter Maurizio Belpietro. The good Mr Belpietro is also under investigation.
The Colombian Connection
It’s not clear just yet whether Berlusconi is caught up in this, but it’s looking increasingly likely seeing as at the centre of what is looking likely to be one enormous international corruption, money laundering and sexual favours for contracts scandal is an attractive and very well compensated Colombian ex-model Debbie Castaneda – who acted as a generously compensated consultant for Italian conglomerate Finmeccanica. Castaneda reportedly earned a commission of 6 million Euros on one Finmeccanica contract.
Then there is Berlusconi confidant Valter Lavitola who also seems to be mixed up in the Finmeccanica case. The name of Italy’s former civil defence chief, Guido Bertolaso has also been coming up in intercepted telephone conversations too.
Details of the Finmeccanica case and additional 100,000 bunga bunga telephone conversations are likely to hit Italy’s press very soon indeed.
It is no wonder that Silvio Berlusconi attempted to resurrect, for the third or fourth time, an anti-wiretap / press gagging law he’s been wanting to pass for ages. In answer to Berlusconi’s request to be allowed to propose the law, Italy’s President Napolitano say ‘No’, but Berlusconi, who claims 87% (!) of Italy’s population have their telephone conversations listened in on, is forging ahead with his latest attempt to curb wiretapping in Italy.
Oh, and there are rumours flying around that Berlusconi said something exceptionally vulgar and uncomplimentary about Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel.
And pop star Madonna has entered the fray and said uncomplimentary things about Silvio Berlusconi. Madonna thinks Berlusconi is “unsuited to govern Italy”. Berlusconi fans have called Madonna, predictably, a commie and pointed out that “Among other things she is openly for homosexual families and therefore openly against our culture and our Constitution”.
Silvio Berlusconi really is in scalding hot water and is in it right up to eyeballs.
It is far from certain he will come out this latest raft of scandals unscathed.
Image of Berlusconi used by kind permission of @Mario C
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