- Tip: Navigate with your left and right arrow keys1The Leader:
Silvio Berlusconi, Prime Minister of Italy and head of Mediaset, the largest Italian broadcasting company
Visits with underage prostitutes, recruiting escorts from around Europe, harassing policewomen, bunga-bunga parties
The Dirty Details:
Over the course of his long business and political career, Berlusconi has been accused of numerous criminal acts. Perhaps too numerous to even name? These include colluding with the Mafia, false accounting practices, tax fraud, bribing police officers and judges, drug trafficking, and embezzlement. Geez, collude with ONE MAFIA and suddenly you're some kind of villain.
In addition to political corruption and unethical business practices, Berlusconi has had a long, sordid history of sex scandals and accusations of impropriety.
Which leads us to a case against Berlusconi that's still ongoing, concerning a Moroccan nightclub dancer named Karima El Mahroug (also known as Karima Keyek or by her, um, professional name Ruby Rubcuori – in English, Ruby Heartstealer.)
Allegedly, Berlusconi paid Ruby for sexual services in early 2010, when she was a minor. He's also accused of abusing the power of his office to secure Ruby's release after she was arrested in May 2010 by Milan police. (She'd been charged with stealing three thousand euros.) Apparently, Berlusconi phoned the Milan police from Paris and told them some story about Ruby being related to Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak and arguing that they needed to release her to avoid an international crisis. (Guess that sounds better than "Please let me, secret hooker girlfriend, out, you guys.")
It was Ruby who first shared details with the world about Silvio's "bunga-bunga" parties. These involved lavish catered affairs that would culminate in group sex between male and female invited guests. (At one such party, Silvio gave his beloved an envelope containing 7,000 euros, but not for sex! Just cause he's such a nice guy.)
The lovely Miss Karima, looking completely innocent
The term "bunga-bunga" is not one that exists outside of Berlusconi's fevered mind, but the accepted definition has since become "an erotic ritual which involves a powerful leader and several naked women."
Then there's all the testimony from Berlusconi's alleged pimp, Gianpaolo Tarantini, who claims he paid for women to travel from across Italy as well as the United Kingdom to stay in luxury hotels and entertain the prime minister. (The girls were allegedly paid 1,000 euros per encounter, plus gifts and parties thrown in their honor.) Berlusconi is said to have once visited with eight of these women in a single evening. (One of them, Carolina Marconi, was a contestant on the Italian version of "Big Brother.")
In connection with the Ruby affair, Berlusconi was indicted in February of 2011 and his trial began in May. In September, the Italian Senate voted to move the trial to a special Ministers' Court, where they felt the decision would be more fair. This is on top of separate ongoing cases against Berlusconi for the aforementioned fraud, bribery, and revealing of court secrets. Not a bad rap sheet for a 75-year-old man!
Oh, one more thing... Here's a video of the prime minster making lewd and inappropriate gestures towards a police woman:
Being the charmer that he is, he also described German Chancellor Angela Merkel "Unf***able", because that's what matters in politics.
Birthplace: Milan, Italy
Profession: Businessperson, Politician, Entrepreneur, Film Producer, Media proprietor
Institution: University of Milan
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