Berlusconi spent nearly 3 million euros on female admirers


Silvio Berlusconi shows the pressure at yesterday's Euro Summit in Brussels. There is no relief in sight for Italy's Prime Minister as his colleagues pile pressure on him to take the necessary steps to stave off a possible sovereign debt crisis in Italy.


Georges Gobet

Silvio Berlusconi, gave nearly three million euros in cash as gifts to his female admirers, and spent an additional 337,000 euros on jewelry that he gave to them, bank records showed, reports the Daily Telegraph.

The documents, which were obtained by La Republica, showed that between January 2007 and June 2008, the Italian prime minister, a billionaire, paid out 17 million euros to his friends, and associates. These included political allies, personal staff, and his brother, who is the editor of Il Giornale, a right wing Italian newspaper.

Of these amounts, 2.7 million euros were spent on "glamorous young women" the Daily Telegraph reports. One of these women was Raissa Skorkina, a Russian model who has been cited in a trial against Berlusconi in which he is accused of abuse of office and paying for sex with an under age prostitute.

The details emerged because magistrates in Florence were looking into the accounts of Denis Verdini. Verdini, a national coordinator of Belusconi's People of Freedom Party, who is being investigated for alleged corruption in who were given public works contracts.

The news comes on the tail of Belusconi's hastily prepared reform package to European leaders in Brussels. The package is expected to hit ordinary Italians hardest, but will also make it easier for employees in Italy to be fired. The retirement age will be raised from 65 to 67.

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