Maybe Italy could use them as collateral for the Chinese bailout
Posted by Charles II on September 15, 2011
While we’re waiting for more phone hacking revelations…
(Image of Kristina and Katarina Knezevic from here)
John Hooper, The Guardian:
Silvio Berlusconi was on Thursday braced for a tidal wave of new and reportedly compromising allegations about his private life as prosecutors confirmed the conclusion of an investigation into the supply of prostitutes and other women for parties at his Rome residence.
Against a background of concern that Italy risks being dragged into a Greek-style debt crisis, rumours have been circulating that investigators recorded the prime minister as he made a grossly obscene reference to the German chancellor, Angela Merkel. The chancellor’s co-operation is vital to resolving the debt crisis on the euro zone’s southern flank.
Police this month arrested the alleged purveyor of women for Berlusconi’s parties, Giampaolo Tarantini, and his wife, on suspicion of blackmailing the prime minister through an intermediary. In a deposition, Berlusconi insisted he made voluntary payments to the couple because they were in a “very difficult situation”.
The prosecutors believe more than €500,000 (£438,000) was handed over.
It was reported this week that a witness had told prosecutors in Milan that Berlusconi was, as he once claimed, in a long-term relationship.
The witness, a Moroccan belly dancer, named his live-in girlfriend as a Montenegrin, named Katarina. The weekly L’Espresso identified her as Katarina Knezevic, 20, a former “Miss Montenegro”. It said she had a twin sister.
Berlusconi mentioned an unidentified lover to rebut claims of wild parties at his home outside Milan. But the witness, who said she was a reluctant participant in “Bunga Bunga” sessions, confirmed the claims
The Moroccan woman also described how a female associate of the prime minister, who is now a member of the regional parliament of Lombardy, had been one of two who dressed as nuns before stripping down to G-strings while pole dancing.
Now, this might be just an excuse for a wan grin on a slow news day. But as it happens, Italy is the linchpin in the world not coming to an end thanks to the debt crisis.
Larry Elliott, The Guardian:
Fears of a deepening of Europe’s debt crisis have prompted the world’s leading central banks to pump US dollars into the financial system, in a co-ordinated action designed to boost market confidence.
The Bank of England joined the US Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank, the Swiss National Bank and the Bank of Japan on Thursday to announce that they would flood money markets with dollars over the coming months.
They really need the Chinese to cover Italy’s debts, or the whole thing will unravel. Having Italy’s PM enveloped in a lurid scandal at this particular moment is probably not going to help things.
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