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Italian publication sues PM Berlusconi -

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PETER CAVE: The scandal surrounding Italy's colourful Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is getting
sleazier, with one of the country's largest publishers suing him for abusing his office.

L'espresso publishers served Mr Berlusconi with a writ after he accused the magazine of a
"subversive attack against him" and called on business leaders to boycott advertising with the
company.

Earlier this week L'espresso's left leaning magazine published lurid audio tapes which purportedly
reveal that Mr Berlusconi slept with a prostitute.

Mr Berlusconi initially denied he was involved but after intense public pressure he's offered a
simple explanation saying he's "no saint".

Di Bain reports.

DI BAIN: Over the past week La Repubblica has been allegedly exposing the secret life of Italy's
most powerful man, billionaire Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

It's published audio tapes and transcripts which surfaced in leaked wire taps which emerged during
a corruption investigation.

The tapes reveal conversations which purport to involve Mr Berlusconi, an escort called Patrizia
D'Addario and the man who hired her.

The latest conversation reports a visit Patrizia D'Addario was preparing to make to Mr Berlusconi's
official residence in Rome.

She's said to be speaking here with Giampaolo Tarantini, the man who allegedly hired her. He tells
her Mr Berlusconi doesn't use condoms.

(Sound of recording in the background)

(Excerpt of recorded conversation, translated)

GIANPAOLO TARANTINI: I don't want to talk. I wanted to tell you that at 9.15 I will pick up the
driver and we will go.

PATRIZIA D'ADDARIO: A thousand for the night.

GIANPAOLO TARANTINI: A thousand. I have already given it to you. And if you stay with him he will
give you a gift. Ah, you will see that he does not use a condom.

PATRIZIA D'ADDARIO: But it doesn't happen without a condom. How do I trust him?

GIANPAOLO TARANTINI: But it is Berlusconi.

PATRIZIA D'ADDARIO: But who are you? Lord, do you know how many people remain?

GIANPAOLO TARANTINI: Do you know how many tests he does?

PATRIZIA D'ADDARIO: I know but you know for us women it is also better. But what I mean...

GIANPAOLO TARANTINI: You can decide. However he doesn't consider you as an escort, understand? He
regards you as a friend. That's how I took it.

(End of excerpt)

DI BAIN: A man who is allegedly Mr Berlusconi can be heard telling the woman to wait for him in
"Putin's" bed while he showers.

(Sound of recording in the background)

(Excerpt of recorded conversation, translated)

SILVIO BERLUSCONI: I'm also going to have a shower and after, after will you wait for me in the bed
if you finish first?

PATRIZIA D'ADDARIO: What a bed. Is that Putin's?

SILVIO BERLUSCONI: It is Putin's.

PATRIZIA D'ADDARIO: Oh, how pretty, that one with the curtains.

(End of excerpt)

DI BAIN: The lawyer for 72-year-old Mr Berlusconi has disputed the veracity of the tapes but at an
event in Italy Mr Berlusconi didn't.

(Sound of Silvio Berlusconi speaking)

SILVIO BERLUSCONI (translated): I'm no saint, by now you've figured that out. Let's hope that those
working at La Repubblica understand that too.

DI BAIN: Mr Berlusconi's flamboyant lifestyle has been scrutinised in depth over the years. His
wife has filed for divorce because he allegedly consorted with a minor. A topless women and a naked
man were also photographed at his villa on Sardinia.

There's concerns his actions are hurting Italy's international reputation.

Mr Berlusconi controls much of the Italian media which hasn't been broadcasting the latest
allegations.

L'espresso Media Group which owns La Repubblica accuses the Prime Minister of trying to exert
control over the Italian media and in doing so abusing his office.

They're now taking Italy's Prime Minister to court.

Last night Mr Berlusconi's lawyers said that they might counter-sue over the publication of the
recordings.

PETER CAVE: Di Bain reporting.