Italy: The end of the end of the line for Berlusconi?

18 January 2011
Corriere della Sera

Corriere della Sera, 18 January 2011

"Nights of Arcore, the papers against Berlusconi", headlines Corriere della Sera. In the wake of wiretaps suggesting that the then-underage nightclub dancer Ruby and other girls attended erotic parties at the PM's residence, public prosecutors have filed a request to prosecute Berlusconi and members of his clique for “Exploitation of Prostitution.” According to documents, Ruby had sex with Berlusconi – which both of them had previously denied – and asked for €5 million to keep quiet about his "puttanaio" (whorehouse). Berlusconi has defended himself by declaring he enjoys a stable relationship with "a girlfriend" and is no longer chasing women, but the recent partial lifting of his legal immunity and a court case could cause him some further pain. While traditionally light-handed Corriere fears continued government paralysis and admits that Italy is in danger of becoming "the caricature of a western country" abroad, anti-Berlusconi La Repubblica is triumphant, certain this is "the end of the line" for Il Cavaliere.