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Escort: Italian PM had ‘harem’ of young women

Image: Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi holds a placard reading "Discover 7 sides of Abruzzo" during the presentation Wednesday of the new touristic logo of Italy. The premier is embroiled in a sex scandal involving prostitutes.Giuseppe Giglia / EPA
/ Source: The Associated Press

The high-end prostitute at the center of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's starlet scandal has dismissed the premier's claims that he doesn't know her, saying they spent the night together and shared an "intimate" breakfast the next morning.

Patrizia D'Addario told the left-leaning La Repubblica newspaper that the only way the premier could be confused about her identity was because "there were so many other young women who looked just like me" at the parties he threw at his residence.

Prosecutors in the southern city of Bari have questioned D'Addario and other starlets as part of a probe into a local businessman accused of recruiting and paying women to attend parties at the premier's homes.

The businessman, Giampaolo Tarantini, has said the women were only reimbursed for their travel expenses and has apologized to Berlusconi for causing scandal.

Berlusconi has said he has never paid for sex, and in an interview with gossip magazine Chi, which he owns, said he didn't remember D'Addario's name or what she looked like.

He granted the interview as he battled a mounting scandal that began when his wife, Veronica Lario — a former actress who met Berlusconi while starring topless in the play "The Magnificent Cuckold" — cited his selection of showgirls for European Parliament candidates and his attendance at the birthday party of an 18-year-old model in announcing she was divorcing him.

'Intimate' breakfast
D'Addario was quoted as saying by Repubblica that she attended two parties at Berlusconi's Roman residence, including one at which she said there were some 20 young women, including two known lesbian prostitutes, who flocked around the premier as if they were at a "harem."

"Actually, harems are serious things that I know well because I've been to Dubai three times," said D'Addario.

She said she danced with the premier to Frank Sinatra's "My Way" during the party, and that the women dined on smoked beef, pasta with mushrooms, cutlets with potatoes and a yoghurt torte that was "soft, like grandma's."

She said she spent that night, Nov. 4, with Berlusconi, when the premier reportedly skipped an appearance at a U.S.-Italy event marking the election of President Barack Obama.

The next morning she said Berlusconi invited her to stay for breakfast. Asked if it took place in the same dining room as the party the night before, D'Addario responded: "No, not in the dining room. It was something more intimate."

D'Addario has said she recorded her encounter with the premier and has turned the tapes over to Bari prosecutors. Prosecutors have not commented on the claim.

epa01772099 An undated photo made available on 24 June 2009 showing Patrizia D'Addario, the woman who alleges she was paid by a local businessman to spend the night with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi in November 2008, perform at a nightclub in Bari, Italy. According to media reports on 24 June 2009, Berlusconi refuted allegations that he paid prostitutes to attend parties he hosted at his various homes, accusing D'Addario of being involved in a plan to make up false accusations against him. EPA/LUCA TURILuca Turi / ANSA

She says she received $1,400 from Tarantini for her attendance at an Oct. 15 party, but wasn't paid for the Nov. 4 encounter and instead received the promise Berlusconi would intervene in the land dispute.

D'Addario says after she confided in an acquaintance that she had recorded proof of her encounter with the premier, her house was robbed and Berlusconi snubbed her at a Bari campaign appearance, even though she was a candidate with a local party affiliated with his Freedom People's party.

She said thieves made off with her computer, music CDs, lingerie and designer clothes — including the Versace dress she wore the night of Nov. 4.

Despite the back-to-back scandals, Berlusconi's conservative forces have emerged victorious from this month's European and administrative elections. But the allegations have tarnished his image abroad and sparked protests at home.

Thousands of women's-rights activists and intellectuals have signed an online petition calling on first ladies not to attend the Group of Eight summit in July in the town of L'Aquila to denounce what they say is Berlusconi's sexist behavior in public and private.

The premier "likes to have many young ladies around him, and he also proposes them for politics, so he shows very little respect not only for them but also for the electors," Margherita Hack, a leading Italian astrophysicist and one of the signatories, told AP Television News.

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