jeudi 8 octobre 2009

Encore un homme par qui le scandale arrive

Polanski and Letterman have nothing on Silvio Berlusconi (pictured above), with whom Michelle Obama refused to exchange more than a cold handshake. After shocking Italy with his antics involving underage girls and prostitutes, Berlusconi has lost the immunity that has protected him from prosecution since he became, for the third time, Italy's prime minister -- in part by cynically playing on xenophobic fears. One of his very first acts as prime minister was to get legislation passed protecting himself and a few select other politicians from legal action while in office.

Yes, it seems that Silvio too has a roving eye and loves the wild, wild life (Déjà fragilisé par le battage médiatique autour de ses aventures présumées avec une mineure et des call-girls, selon Le Monde). He is definitely down, right now, but I would not count him out just yet. Neither does the correspondent for Le Monde (click on title for link to article).

Nonetheless, if he loses immunity he could find himself once again before a judge (he claims to have been involved in more than 90 cases since 1994 and to have spent nealy 170 million euros to defend himself) for any number of pending matters, all of which involve actions far worse than referring to the Obamas not once but twice as "tanned":

– Television rights: he was indicted for falsifying accounting documents and corruption in connection with the purchase of television broadcasting rights.

– Subordination of a witness in connection with the lawsuit for the purchase of television broadcasting rights. Berlusconi is suspected of having bribed David Mills (a British lawyer) in exchange for false testimony. Mills was sentenced to 4 and a half years in prison last February.

- Berlusconi may also end up being indicted once a pending investigation in Rome wraps up. In this case, he is suspected of trying to buy votes in the aim of bringing down the government of his predecessor, Romano Prodi, who had only a weak majority in the Senate, between 2006 and 2008.

One of his call girls taped a conversation they had about his sexual performance. It seems the 72-year old PM ascribes his own prowess to genes. The 42-year old call girl from whom Berlusconi extracts some perfectly perfunctory compliments (a young man would ejaculate immediately, and she hasn't had it this good since she broke up with her boyfriend) has since been making the rounds on television. Which is funny, because if Berlusconi's attempts at bribery, corruption and cooking the books had actually worked, then Big Boss probably would have seen to it that she stayed far from the glare of the cameras.