Berlusconi 'knowingly entertained prostitutes'

The call girl at the centre of a sex scandal dogging Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is claiming that he knowingly entertained high-end prostitutes at his Rome residence.

“Berlusconi knew I was a call girl,” Patrizia D’Addario said on public television late on Thursday. “And I wasn’t the only one that evening, or the evening before.”

The claim is the latest volley in a scandal that erupted in June when wiretaps revealed that a Berlusconi associate offered money to call girls to spend the night with the prime minister at his residences in Rome and Sardinia.

The associate, entrepreneur Gianpaolo Tarantini, is under investigation for corruption, and the wiretap evidence laid him open to additional charges of incitement to prostitution.

“I had the impression of being part of a harem,” D’Addario said on Thursday.

“There was only Prime Minister Berlusconi and Tarantini and about 20 women, that’s all. We danced, we sang.
I was happy to stay on with the prime minister and that he was interested in me,” added the 42-year-old blonde.

Tarantini, who like D’Addario is from the southern city of Bari, told investigators that he had supplied about 30 women who were prepared to provide sexual favours “if the need arose” for a total of 18 parties at Berlusconi’s homes in Rome and Sardinia from September 2008 to January 2009.

“I introduced them as my friends, and I did not mention the fact that sometimes I paid them,” he was quoted as saying.

Scandals over the flamboyant prime minister’s private life have dogged him for months.

The 72-year-old media mogul, a renowned playboy, has said he has never paid for sex, while admitting that he is “no saint”.

His attendance at the 18th birthday party of aspiring model Noemi Letizia in April was the final straw for the media tycoon’s estranged wife, who has filed for divorce saying she could not stay with a man who “frequents minors”.—AFP

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