Berlusconi defends bribery as "necessary"


Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi (R) and Italian President Giorgio Napolitano (L) attend the swearing in ceremony for the new government at the Quirinale Palace on May 8, 2008, in Rome, Italy.


Franco Origlia

Italy's former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi spoke out today in defense of bribery. At least nobody can accuse of him avoiding controversial stances on issues.

"Bribes are a phenomenon that exists and it's useless to deny the existence of these necessary situations," Berlusconi said in a televised interview, according to PTI. "These are not crimes. We're talking  about paying a commission to someone in that country. Why, because those are the rules in that country," he added later. 

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Berlusconi was speaking in defense of Giuseppe Orsi. Orsi, the head of Italian defense and aerospace giant Finmeccanica, Giuseppe Orsi, got caught up in an international bribery scandal and resigned today, the Economic Times of India reported. He was arrested on Tuesday over allegations that he paid bribes to the Indian government to secure the sale of 12 choppers.

In what appears to be a major election gaffe, Berlusconi is very supportive of the scandal-ridden company and hinted that things are always done differently in India. "India is a country outside of the Western hemisphere, it is an absurd form of moralizing, you cannot be an entrepreneur in this way," Berlusconi protested, according to Europe Online

When you put it that way, corruption isn't so bad either,