Italian newspapers in recent days have replaced front page headlines on soaring bond yields and sliding shares with wiretapped chats between Berlusconi and Giampaolo Tarantini, a businessman suspected of providing prostitutes for the premier.
In one excerpt published by the Corriere della Sera daily, Berlusconi boasts of champagne-filled partying till 6.30 am at a Milan nightclub and pocketing eight phone numbers of women. He also brags of fending off a line of 11 girls outside his door and “doing only eight girls, because I couldn’t do more.“
“If you have a girl — two girls, three girls — to bring,” Berlusconi is quoted as asking the southern businessman ahead of their next encounter, “please don’t get tall ones … because we are not tall.”
In another excerpt reported by major dailies, Berlusconi says “Gianpi” and his female friends could come along on the premier’s flight to Milan. Yet another has him joking to a young woman that he is premier in his “spare time.“
Opposition parties stepped up calls for Berlusconi to resign after the latest disclosures, saying a country immersed in a debt crisis that threatens the entire euro zone could not afford a premier who governs in his spare time.
“Is there a single reason comprehensible to the world on why Berlusconi should not resign?” Pier Luigi Bersani, leader of the centre-left Democratic Party said.