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

18 January 2011
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.