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Berlusconi digs in heels despite sex probe

[ 2011-01-24 14:42]     字号 [] [] []  
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Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi accused magistrates on Saturday of illegally spying on him as he refused to appear before prosecutors who allege that he had sex with an underage prostitute.

As the opposition urged him to resign over the latest sex scandal, Berlusconi said he had no intention of stepping down, keeping up his offensive against magistrates he says are biased and bent on trying to oust him from power.

"I am not running away and I am not resigning," Berlusconi said in a phone call to a meeting of his People of Freedom party. "I am defending myself and reacting to what is truly an attempt to subvert the will of voters," he said.

Milan prosecutors allege that Berlusconi paid for sex with a "significant" number of prostitutes, including a 17-year-old nightclub dancer, at parties in his villa near Milan. Having sex with a prostitute under the age of 18 is an offence in Italy. Berlusconi denies any wrongdoing.

Leaked transcripts of phone conversations between more than 20 women who attended the so-called "bunga bunga" sex parties at Berlusconi's residence have been splashed on Italian newspapers for days, piling pressure on the premier.

But Berlusconi said the wiretaps were part of an illegal political, judicial and media campaign to destroy him, defending his right to privacy and calling the accusations "ridiculous".

"Since the beginning of 2010 all the guests that came to my house in Arcore have been subject to continued phone tapping ... Is it normal in a democracy that the prime minister can be subject to this type of controls, to this spying?" he asked, to a chorus of "No" by party members. The magistrates had summoned the 74-year-old billionaire, who denies any wrongdoing, for questioning and gave him a choice of three days between Friday and Sunday.

But the premier's lawyers sent a statement to the prosecutors on Friday contending that they do not have the right to preside over the case and informing them Berlusconi would not attend. The lawyers say that the case should be handled instead by a special court for ministers.


1. How old is Silvio Berlusconi

2. How many women attending the party have had a transcript of their conversation leaked?

3. What was the name of the party?


1. 74.

2. 20.

3. Bunga bunga.


(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Berlusconi digs in heels despite sex probe

About the broadcaster:

Berlusconi digs in heels despite sex probe

Lee Hannon is Chief Editor at China Daily with 15-years experience in print and broadcast journalism. Born in England, Lee has traveled extensively around the world as a journalist including four years as a senior editor in Los Angeles. He now lives in Beijing and is happy to move to China and join the China Daily team.