L'economia del "Fatto Quotidiano". Il blog di Stefano Feltri

Sultanato made in Italy: il racconto del Sunday Times

From The Sunday Times
June 21, 2009
One night in Silvio Berlusconi’s ‘harem’
Former escort girl tells of dinner party at Italian premier’s home, where he showed off to female guests then took her to bed
Patrizia D’Addario


Patrizia D’Addario says Berlusconi told her to ‘wait in the big bed’
John Follain in Bari

ON the night of Barack Obama’s election as US president last November, Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian prime minister, threw a candlelit dinner party for three beautiful women at Palazzo Grazioli, his luxurious residence in Rome.

One of the guests, a former actress and escort girl called Patrizia D’Addario, 42, says he then asked her to stay the night. Not only that, but she claims to have taped the conversation that followed.

“Go and wait for me in the big bed,” the 72-year-old billionaire is said to have told her. He was going to have a shower and change into a bathrobe.

An extract from D’Addario’s tape that was leaked to an Italian newspaper and published yesterday shows that she replied: “Yes, the big bed.”

According to D’Addario, Berlusconi’s staff reminded him that he was expected at an election night rally organised by the Italy-USA Foundation, but the prime minister stayed at home. Officials informed him later of Obama’s victory.

The next day, D’Addario says, she and Berlusconi breakfasted together and he gave her a multicoloured tortoise encrusted with precious stones, declaring: “The tortoise is a special gift I give only to you.”

Her account is the latest in a series of claims about Berlusconi’s private life that have embarrassed him and threatened to undermine his authority as he prepares to host a G8 summit next month. He has described D’Addario’s claims as “trash and falsehood”.

“I will not be swayed by these attacks and will continue to work for the good of the country,” he said.

D’Addario’s story has been supported by her friend Barbara Montereale, 23, a hostess who claims to have accompanied her to the dinner party on November 4 and to a similar event two weeks earlier.

Montereale disclosed in Italian newspaper interviews yesterday that D’Addario told her she had sex with Berlusconi on the night of Obama’s victory.

D’Addario, from Bari, southern Italy – who stood in local elections earlier this month for a party linked to Berlusconi’s, – described her alleged involvement with the prime minister in a two-hour interview last week with The Sunday Times.

She said it began when she was paid £850 to attend a dinner party with a large group of young women last October.

An elegant, green-eyed blonde with a 13-year-old daughter, D’Addario – who claimed to have worked as an assistant to David Copperfield, the magician – insisted that she could prove her story with audio tapes and footage of her visits to Berlusconi’s home.

She said that when she first walked into a large frescoed room in the residence, wearing a black Versace dress, and saw that 20 women had come for dinner, her first thought was: “But this is a harem.”

A friend she identified only as Giampaolo had asked her to come and offered her £420 – “That’s what the other girls get,” he had said – but she had insisted on £1,700, which he accepted.

She was given a ticket for a flight to Rome that day and was driven with Montereale and another woman to the residence at about 10pm. As the car approached, Giampaolo closed the tinted windows. She took a lift up to the frescoed room.

Berlusconi greeted his guests 10 minutes later with the words, “Good evening to you all”, and D’Addario was struck by how much make-up he was wearing.

“I’ve worked in the theatre and I know about make-up. He had a lot on. It made him look orange and when he laughed you could see the wrinkles,” she said.

Berlusconi walked up to D’Addario and Giampaolo – the only male guest that evening – and was introduced. “This is Alessia,” Giampaolo said, using a false name.

Berlusconi kissed her on both cheeks, stroked her arm and said: “Ciao, I’m Silvio. You are very carina [lovely].”

They sat down on a sofa as he asked her: “Where do you come from? What do you do?” She told him about a residential complex she wanted to build on her family’s land, saying she was having difficulty obtaining permits.

For more than an hour Berlusconi screened one piece of film after another for his guests, showing him at the White House with President George W Bush, at a meeting of the G8 and on the campaign trail before last year’s general election. “It was painful, boring,” D’Addario recalled.

The last film included the campaign song Meno male che Silvio c’è (I’m glad that Silvio’s here), and many of the women sang the words, waving their arms in the air in unison.

According to D’Addario’s account, Berlusconi led her by the hand to the dining room when the films ended at about 11.30pm and the other women followed.

Over a dinner of tagliatelle with porcini mushrooms, beef-burgers and potatoes, and yoghurt tart, brought by servants in livery, Berlusconi proved a relentlessly attention-grabbing host. A former cruise-ship crooner, he sang songs he had written, passed around photographs of his villas and told “very dirty” jokes.

At one point he looked across the table at D’Addario and announced: “There’s a girl who no longer trusts men and I will make her change her mind. I will fly her off on a private jet and make her see that men are not what she thinks.”

Irritated that other guests had heard this, she replied: “What are you doing – are you telling a joke about me?”

Berlusconi replied: “Yes. I know everything.”

She was convinced that he had studied her past.

During the meal he kept getting up, disappearing into another room and returning with a broad grin, laden with gifts of necklaces, pendants, rings, bracelets and other jewels – mostly shaped as butterflies – which he gave to all the women.

Towards the end he asked D’Addario for a slow dance. “We danced in front of everyone. He held me tightly, but what struck me was that he did it in front of everyone else,” she recalled.

Had Berlusconi made any other advances to her that evening? She refused to reply. Had he asked her to stay after the dinner?

“I didn’t want to stay. I was tired,” she answered. Had other women stayed? Again, she would not say.

Afterwards, Giampaolo said he would give her only £850, not the £1,700 agreed. “You made a mistake – you should have stayed,” she says she was told.

On the day of the US presidential election, however, Giampaolo contacted her again. “He wants to see you,” Giampaolo said. She was told to leave immediately.

Why had she gone? “Because I had to,” she answered, refusing to elaborate.

At about 10.30pm, she was driven into Palazzo Grazioli with Giampaolo and two young women, including Montereale. She recalled that Berlusconi had welcomed her by saying: “I’m happy to see you again. I was waiting for you.”

Then he led her to a buffet of cakes and ice-cream, telling her, unprompted, that he would solve her problem with building permits by sending two people to Bari.

As they ate, he again sang his songs, showed photographs of his villas and his family and presented the women with gifts. “I think the ritual is always like this,” she said. The same films were then screened in the same room as before.

“I stayed the night. I left in the morning after breakfast,” she said. At one point Berlusconi had left her to issue a statement on Obama’s triumph.

D’Addario said she had filmed herself standing in front of a mirror, a framed picture of Berlusconi’s estranged wife, Veronica Lario, and a bed.

Asked why she had taped her host, she said: “I felt safer filming and recording everything. And Berlusconi made me a promise; he was very sweet to me.” She added that she had had “serious problems” with a man in the past and she felt safer with a recorder.

She was driven back to a hotel, she explained. “When I opened the door of the suite, one of the two girls who had left after the dinner laughed and asked me, ‘Did you get the envelope?’ ” But D’Addario had received no such envelope.

The following evening, she said, Berlusconi rang her. According to a tape leaked to La Repubblica newspaper yesterday, he asked: “How’s it going?” She replied that her voice was a bit hoarse.

With mock surprise, he said that was strange because he had not heard “shrieks” the previous night.

Although she was picked as a local election candidate allied to Berlusconi’s People of Freedom party, his promise of help with building permits failed to materialise and she turned against him.

D’Addario, Montereale and two other women have been heard as witnesses by Giuseppe Scelsi, a Bari prosecutor who is leading an investigation into Giampaolo Tarantini, a 35-year-old businessman suspected of corruption and abetting prostitution.

The women testified that they had attended parties at Berlusconi’s homes in Rome or on the Costa Smeralda in Sardinia. There is no suggestion that the prime minister has committed any offence.

In an interview yesterday, Montereale said D’Addario had stayed with Berlusconi after the second dinner “to work. All of us at the dinner knew she was an escort”. She quoted D’Addario as telling her she had had sex with Berlusconi. Her flight and hotel arrangements were identical to D’Addario’s and she, too, was paid for attending the dinners.

Montereale said she had been invited to Berlusconi’s Sardinian villa in January. She had told him about financial problems and he had given her an envelope with “a very generous amount of cash”, she claimed. She said she had never had sex with him.

Asked about her future, D’Addario hesitated a long time before saying she hoped she could build her residential complex. Did she have any regrets?

“I feel I’ve been duped. I thought that, given how Berlusconi behaved with me, he would resolve the problem for me – because he is the prime minister and because of how affectionate he was,” she said.

Prosecutor chases ‘escort providers’

Patrizia D’Addario’s account and those of other witnesses are being checked by Giuseppe Scelsi, a prosecutor in Bari who is investigating Giampaolo Tarantini and his brother Claudio over alleged corruption involving contracts awarded by local hospitals.

Telephone conversations bugged during Scelsi’s investigation reportedly indicated that Giampaolo paid women to attend parties at the homes of his business associates and friends.

Giampaolo, whose homes include a villa near Berlusconi’s in Sardinia, is said to have mentioned parties given by the prime minister to which he had been invited.

The prosecutor is checking the telephone records and travel arrangements of D’Addario and other women to find out who paid for their flights. D’Addario’s audio tapes and footage are locked in a safe.

The Tarantini brothers deny any wrongdoing.

Giampaolo Tarantini reportedly referred in one conversation to the model and actress Sabina Began, who is believed to have introduced female acquaintances of his to Berlusconi in Sardinia.

Nicknamed Berlusconi’s “queen bee”, Began allegedly picked several of the 50 young women who attended a New Year’s Eve party to see in 2008 with Berlusconi at his Sardinian villa, according to L’Espresso magazine.

Twenty guests, including actresses and showgirls, were allegedly paid £1,270 a day to be present.

Berlusconi’s lawyer Niccolo Ghedini, who is also an MP, branded the account a fantasy and threatened to sue the magazine.

A source close to the investigation said: “Scelsi’s tough. He’ll go all the way on this one.”


23/06/2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , ,

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