Berlusconi: I have nothing to hide

Author: By Associated Press

Berlusconi responded to apparent criticism from his daughter, Barbara, who
said in an interview with a magazine this week that politicians cannot
afford to differentiate between their public and private spheres and should
work to improve moral values.

During a news conference at his office, Berlusconi contended his daughter’s
comments were taken out of context and were not meant as criticism.

“Her dad has nothing to be sorry about in his private life and nothing to
apologize for, even to his family members,” Berlusconi told reporters. “The
premier has no skeletons in his closet and cannot be blackmailed by
anybody.”

The 72-year-old conservative premier has been entangled in scandal for months
over his alleged encounters with women, including a call girl who says she
spent the night with him in his Rome residence.

Recordings of purported conversations between Berlusconi and the prostitute
have been released by the left-leaning magazine L’Espresso on its Web site.

Berlusconi’s lawyer has disputed the veracity of the tapes, which include
intimate details. Berlusconi has denied he ever paid for sex, and says the
allegations are a smear campaign by left-leaning media.

But he has also joked that he is “no saint.”

In Friday’s remarks, Berlusconi made another crack about his fondness for the
female sex to respond to contentions that his attitude demeans women.

“Foreign newspapers … continue to say that I hate women and that I am
against women,” he said. “If there is something I adore it’s women, I
believe that is widely known.”

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