You know, I wasn’t going to write about this issue. Sex scandals as a general rule are very boring. It’s always the same shit: politician gets his rocks off thanks to intern/escort/secret male love interest, politician is flayed alive by the hypocritical conservative press, politician delivers obligatory apology and either leaves office or continues on with his presidency. Alpha and omega. Every once in a while, however, a scandal surfaces so patently ridiculous in its scope that it cannot escape my attention. Ladies and gentlemen, this is Silvio Berlusconi.
For those of you living under rocks or in America where no other country matters, Mr. Berlusconi is Italy’s prime minister. He also sports a laundry list of legal infractions to rival the shadiest of political entrepreneurs, including tax fraud, bribery, mafia collusion and a host of other fun stuff. He’s been the center of something like 2,500 hearings and yet he’s never been brought up on charges. Apparently the Italian judicial system allows “statute of limitations” to extend through hearing periods, so his personal cadre of lawyers have perfected an arsenal of delaying tactics to keep his ass out of prison – and remarkably, still in office. This cat is certainly not doing an awful lot to live down the cliche of the powerful Italian mobster escaping justice.
This guy is a whirlwind of controversy. His sense of humour calls to mind that of former Toronto mayor Mel Lastman whose frequent awkward outbursts made him the subject of some serious public backlash during his time in office. Berlusconi once intimated that German Member of EU Parliament Martin Schultz was “perfect” for the role of a concentration camp guard in a Nazi-themed documentary – yeah, I don’t know if anybody told you Silvio, but the Germans are a little touchy about that particular subject. He also told the press that in order to convince Finnish president Tarja Halonen to locate the EFSA in Parma, he’d have to “dust off his Playboy skills”. That couldn’t have been more offensive – or funnier – if he’d written that sentiment down and spelled “skills” with a “z”.
Oh, and he was BFFs with George W. Bush. And he complimented Obama on his “suntan”. Jesus.
The list goes on…if I were to post everything this guy has said we’d be here all day. Go check out his Wiki page if you’re inclined; it’s beyond belief.
I’ll give the cat this – he’s pretty much got balls of steel, and I think he ranks among the five or six people in the world who genuinely don’t give a fiddler’s damn what anybody thinks of him. But everybody’s luck has to run out at some point.
Back in June, former actress Patrizia D’Addario reported to media that she’d been paid by a middle-man to spend several evenings with the notorious Berlusconi, and if Gawker is to be believed (take it with a grain of salt) those evenings were spent in a bed purported to have belonged to Vladimir Putin. Berlusconi denied the whole thing in characteristic style, saying that he would never pay for sex because (and get this):
“I never understood what the satisfaction is when you are missing the pleasure of conquest.”
I don’t even know what to say about that. On one hand the guy’s a total cad and probably not the best person to represent Italy on the international stage. On the other hand he clearly has no concept of internal censor – my God, could this be an honest politician?
Oh, wait. I forgot about all those pesky criminal investigations. Guess not.
Anyway, this D’Addario thing has just been getting worse and worse for our man Silvio. Photos and later audio tapes started popping up that more-or-less pinned the whole affair on the lascivious prime minister (who, if the accounts in the linked articles are to be believed, is some kind of serious stud in the bedroom). Ms. D’Addario is a sharp lady – she did an awful lot of recording and photo shooting while visiting Berlusconi’s estate. Since the tapes have gone public, Berlusconi’s only response has been to say
“I am no saint.”
No kidding, but it gets better.
In addition to the whole sex scandal thing, another interesting tidbit has surfaced as a result of those damning tapes. Apparently, Berlusconi was overheard on the tapes telling D’Addario all about how he recently discovered a network of about thirty 2300 year-old Phoenician tombs under his estates.
Let’s milk it, shall we?
Notorious womanizing billionaire playboy discovers network of caves underneath his expansive mansion. Anybody hazard to take a guess where this one is heading?
According to Italian law, failure to report such a vast archaeological find to the Ministry of Culture carries a five thousand dollar fine and up to a year in prison. Talk about insult to injury – first you have to cop to plowing some has-been actress, then you get booked on a relatively minor cultural infraction (minor compared to extortion and Mafia collusion anyway) – that’s as bad as Al Capone getting taken down for tax evasion.
Of course, given Berlusconi’s shady past and obvious penchant for the dramatic, I wonder whether he was keeping those tombs secret for a reason. Let’s hope for Ms. D’Addario’s sake old Silvio isn’t a fan of Poe.
Forget the Dos Equus guy – good or bad, Silvio Berlusconi has my vote for Most Interesting Man in the World – at least this week.