Best of Berlusconi: Quotes, gaffes, awkward political moments


Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has been called many things. Here at GlobalPost, we'll stick with "colorful."

With Friday's news of Berlusconi's 4-year jail sentence, quickly cut to one year, for tax fraud — one he's likely to avoid serving entirely, regardless of its length — it seemed an opportune time to have a look back at some of the most memorable exploits of Italy's infamous former leader.

Here's a sampling of Berlusconi's famous quotes, unforgettable gaffes and most awkward political moments.

Merkel is an "unf*ckable lard-arse"

Berlusconi reportedly called German Chancellor Angela Merkel an "unf*ckable lard-arse" during a wiretapped conversation, according to reports that surfaced last September. Investigators overheard the remarks during a July phone conversation between Berlusconi and the man accused of supplying prostitutes to the prime minister's parties. Berlusconi used the Italian phrase, "culona inchiavabile."

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Lavishing gifts on the ladies

Bank reports in October 2011 showed that Berlusconi gave nearly three million euros in cash as gifts to his female admirers between January 2007 and June 2008, and he spent an additional 337,000 euros on jewelry for them.

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"This shitty country"

Berlusconi was caught calling his own nation, "this shitty country," in a telephone intercept in September 2011. His comments, which made headlines in newspapers, come as he desperately attempted to introduce an austerity package to save Italy's perilous finances and even, ultimately, the euro.

Berlusconi claimed he was joking.

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"Beautiful secretaries"

In 2003, Berlusconi took a moment to explain to investors why they should do business in Italy: the ladies. "Italy is now a great country to invest in," he said, as reported by TIME. "Today we have fewer communists and those who are still there deny having been one. Another reason to invest in Italy is that we have beautiful secretaries."

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Obama is "sun-tanned"

Berlusconi proved there are no limits to his ability to shock when he called President Obama "sun-tanned" in November 2008. A year later, he said of Obama and his wife Michelle: "You wouldn't believe it, but they go sunbathing at the beach together — his wife is also sun-tanned."

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[View the story "Berlusconi's bad behavior: Former PM gets jail time" on Storify]

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