By Simon Farnsworth
Whoever said politics is dull has obviously never taken into account the exuberant Italian billionaire that is Silvio Berlusconi.
The 77-year-old has survived more scandals than all the members of the English football team combined but his days as a political force in Italy now seem numbered.
From bunga bunga parties to allegedly sleeping with underage girls to financial irregularities- the Italian’s have had to put up with a lot from their former leader.
Let’s look back at some of his most scandalous moments:
1990: Berlusconi found guilty of perjury. This came after he lied about his membership to a subversive masonic lodge, Propaganda 2. His conviction was saved by amnesty.
1998: He gets a two-year, nine month sentence for bribing his firm’s tax inspectors. The ruling was later overturned and was then timed out by law. This is something that gets Berlusconi off in five other cases.
2002: A case of false accounting is thrown out of court after a change in the law by his own party.
July 2003: Compares a German MEP to a Nazi concentration camp guard.
December 2004: He is cleared of a corruption charge after a four-year trial. He was accused of bribing judges in the 1980s.
April 2006: On the campaign trail he declares: “I am the Jesus Christ of politics. I am a patient victim, I sacrifice myself for everyone”, but loses to Romano Prodi.
2007: Magazines in Italy publish photos of him cavorting with several young women.
2008: Mara Carfagna, a former glamour model, is appointed his equal opportunities minister.
June 2008: A bill is launched to grant him immunity from law while he is in office. This suspends two on going cases against him.
April 2009: Rumours circulate about his relationship with 18-year-old Noemi Letizia, who is an aspiring show girl. His wife, Veronica Lario, announces publicly that she is leaving him because he “consorts with minors.”
April 2009: Berlusconi tells victims of the Italian earthquake they should pretend they are on a “camping weekend.”
May 2009: Photos are published of several nude women in his villa.
June 2009: Reports surface that he has paid women for sex. Berlusconi tries to squash these rumours. He is quoted as saying to Chi magazine that he “never understood what the satisfaction is when you are missing the pleasure of conquest.”
July 2009: He goes on record by saying he is “no saint” after taped conversations between him and a prostitute are published
October 2009: The bill granting him immunity from the law is ruled as unconstitutional. The cases against him re-open.
February 2010: He announces his election candidates for the upcoming elections which include a Miss Italy contestant, a weather girl from one of his TV channels and a former showgirl.
2010: Investigation opens into his bunga bunga parties.
November 2010: Berlusconi states: “My passion for women is better than being gay.”
January 2011: Police in Milan confirm they are investigating Berlusconi for abuse of office and sleeping with an underage girl, 17 year old nightclub dancer, Karima El Mahrough (or by her stage name, Ruby The Heartbreaker).
February 2011: Over one million people in over 200 Italian towns and cities demonstrate against Mr Berlusconi, saying the current sex scandal has disgraced the country.
November 2011: Caught on tape saying he “is prime minister in his spare time.” He is also recorded saying how one night he had 11 women lined up outside his room but he only had “eight of them because I couldn’t manage more.”
October 2012: Berlusconi is found guilty of tax fraud and sentenced to four years in jail. He was one of four sentenced for a scheme that involved inflating the purchase price of broadcasting rights by his Mediaset television company and pocketing the difference.
May 2013: A Milan appeals court upholds his four-year sentence for tax fraud. The court’s ruling also bars Berlusconi from holding public office for five years.
June 2013: Berlusconi is sentenced to seven years for abuse of office and paying for sex with a minor. He has the right to launch two appeals which will likely drag on for years. He does not have to serve any time nor bow out of politics whilst the appeals are ongoing.
Featured Image used under Creative Commons from: http://www.flickr.com/photos/spiritolibero85/2576696449/