Silvio Berlusconi's scandal just gets worse, with allegations that he continued paying one woman even after prostitution allegations broke. But he could still get off scot-free.
According to the Telegraph, bank records show that Berlusconi paid over $115,000 to model Alessandra Sorcinelli this January, well after he was accused of consorting with prostitutes. Italian police have also apparently uncovered "some very interesting photographs" of the Italian Prime Minister's now-infamous parties. And 25-year-old model Maria Ester Garcia Polanco has become the first of the women linked to Berlusconi to admit having sex with him — though she says she didn't do so for money, but out of gratitude that he paid her daughter's medical bills.
Neither Polanco nor Sorcinelli is under the age of 18, so any dalliance he had with them won't confirm the most serious charges against him — charges of paying underage prostitutes and covering it up, which could earn him years in prison. But another sex worker has testified that Berlusconi did have sex with the underage Karima El Mahroug (aka Ruby Heart-stealer), and the combination of bank records, wiretaps, and witness accounts suggests a level of hanky-panky in Berlusconi's life that would have prompted many politicians to resign. So why is Berlusconi still around?
One reason, according to the Telegraph, is that his political opponents haven't tried hard enough to force him out yet (and meanwhile, his allies are saying things like, "In a normal, democratic country these things don't happen, you don't put a person under pressure in this way. He's the prime minister, not the mafia!"). The Italian people also seem somewhat indifferent to Berlusconi's antics, with 50% saying the investigation won't lessen his power. Some argue that all politicians have sex scandals. Others feel there's really no viable alternative to Berlusconi — one Italian reader told us, "Sorry for our president ... italians are better than him, but we don't have any other choice, other parties simply do not have any political plan." And Italian porn star Rocco Siffredi has another idea: "The truth is Italians are proud of someone who is 74, loves sex and has a good sex life." But there's a difference between "a good sex life" and having sex with underage girls, and if Berlusconi is found guilty of the latter, he's not fit to lead his country.
Silvio Berlusconi Continued Paying 'Call Girl' After Prostitution Scandal Broke, New Evidence Shows [Telegraph]
Why Berlusconi May Yet Survive The Milan Prostitute Scandal [Telegraph]
Model In Milan Prostitution Investigation Admits Sleeping With Berlusconi [Telegraph]
Italian porn star Rocco Siffredi defends embattled Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi [NY Daily News]