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Page last updated at 19:39 GMT, Monday, 20 July 2009 20:39 UK

Paper releases Berlusconi 'tapes'

Silvio Berlusconi in Milan (20 July 2009)
Silvio Berlusconi says there is nothing in his private life he is ashamed of

An Italian newspaper has released audio recordings and transcripts of what it says was a night Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi spent with an escort.

Patrizia D'Addario told L'Espresso she had made the tapes during a visit to Mr Berlusconi's official Rome residence.

In one conversation, a man can be heard telling a woman to wait for him in "Putin's" bed after having a shower.

Mr Berlusconi has not denied Ms D'Addario attended a party at his home, but insists he did not pay for sex.

A spokesman for the 72-year-old's political grouping, People of Freedom, said L'Espresso was merely trying to revive an "already dead" scandal.

Mr Berlusconi's personal life has been under scrutiny since his wife filed for divorce in May, saying she could "not remain with a man who consorts with minors" after he attended the 18th birthday party of an aspiring model, Noemi Letizia.

The prime minister initially said he had only gone to Ms Letizia's party because she was the daughter of a family friend, but photographs later emerged of them together at social events last year, when she was 17. He also confirmed she had stayed at his villa in Sardinia.

He faced further scandal when photos were published of topless women and a naked man at his villa on Sardinia, and also of a celebrity using the prime minister's official jet to fly to the island.

Investigation

The recordings of conversations purportedly between the prime minister and Ms D'Addario were published several weeks after the former model gave them to magistrates investigating Giampaolo Tarantini, a businessman from the southern Italian city of Bari, who is suspected of corruption and abetting prostitution.

Palazzo Grazioli (file)
Ms D'Addario says she spent the night at the Palazzo Grazioli in Rome

In one exchange, a male voice said to be Mr Berlusconi's can be heard saying: "I'm going to have a shower too... So wait for me in the big bed if you finish first."

A woman's voice, purportedly that of Ms D'Addario, asks: "Which big bed... Putin's?", reportedly a reference to a four-poster bed which Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin used during a recent official visit.

"Putin's," the man says, to which the woman replies: "Oh, how sweet... the one with the curtains."

Ms D'Addario, 42, says she made recordings of her encounter with Mr Berlusconi "so that nobody could deny I had been there".

Last month, she said she had been paid more than 1,000 euros (£862; $1,420) to attend a party at the Palazzo Grazioli in October, in the company of other women.

She alleged that she had been asked to return the following month and had spent the night with the prime minister, but was not paid.

Mr Berlusconi responded to the allegations by insisting he had never paid for sex.

"I never understood where the satisfaction is when you're missing the pleasure of conquest," he told the gossip magazine, Chi.

And he attacked Ms D'Addario, saying she had been "extremely well paid" by someone to produce false accusations against him.



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SEE ALSO
Berlusconi model 'faked' romance
02 Jul 09 |  Europe
Berlusconi denies paying for sex
24 Jun 09 |  Europe
Defiant Berlusconi calm amid storm
05 Jun 09 |  Europe
Berlusconi fury over naked photos
05 Jun 09 |  Europe
Berlusconi seeks to placate Italy
25 May 09 |  Europe
Profile: Silvio Berlusconi
13 Dec 09 |  Europe

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