BY RUISHA QIAN
Silvio Berlusconi is facing more sex scandal charges after phone recordings were obtained by prosecutors. Al Jazeera reports on conversations between the Italian Prime Minister and a businessman arranging escorts.
“In one of the conversations, Silvio Berlusconi asked him specifically for women that aren’t taller than himself -- and he’s 5’5”. In another one, he boasted that he spent the night with eight different girls, although he could have had 11. In another one, he said ‘Well, there are 40 women sleeping in my house and I just can’t get rid of them.”
The recordings were among 100,000 telephone conversations released to the Italian media. But the PM is defiant. He told an Italian newspaper:
"My private life is not a crime."
The International Business Times has one of his most astounding quotes...
"Berlusconi, in one of the conversations, said that he was unable to find enough time to spend with his companions, due to his schedule as the prime minister. ‘Oh, to pass the days with my babes; I'm just the prime minister in my spare time,’ he allegedly said in one conversation.”
For the first time, this tape discloses that Berlusconi paid the women he slept with. This contradicts his prior insistence that he has never paid for sex.
Fox News reports, the tapes gave Berlusconi’s opponents more reasons to accuse the PM of abusing his power.
“They allege he used government planes to transport women to his private party. But Berlusconi said he’s innocent. He just has a weakness for beautiful women.”
Berlusconi is no stranger to scandals. But a writer for The First Post says this newest scandal has particularly bad timing.
“Berlusconi is already accused of paying for sex with a minor and abusing his office. More urgently, however, he is also struggling to keep Italy's economy's afloat. Last week Berlusconi got an €54 bn austerity package through parliament, triggering angry protests and increasing domestic pressure...”
Opposition party officials are demanding Berlusconi’s resignation.
The Telegraph quotes one member of parliament, saying:
"No one understands why the premier is dedicating a good deal of his time to questions not related to fighting the economic crisis and relaunching the economy.”
However, The Financial Times says, he is not likely to step down.
“Behind the scenes, opposition politicians admit that so far they have had little success in persuading parliamentary colleagues to abandon their 74-year-old leader, despite the public humiliation of having transcripts of his sometimes lurid telephone conversations ... plastered across national newspapers.”