Magistrates investigating an alleged prostitution ring in Italy have published wiretaps in which Silvio Berlusconi boasts of spending the night with eight women and complains that meetings foreign heads of government and the Pope are interfering with his partying.
The wiretaps were released at the conclusion of an investigation into entrepreneur Gianpaolo Tarantini, who is accused of paying women to sleep with Berlusconi, 74, at his homes in 2008 and 2009.
The wiretaps throw doubt on the Italian Prime Minister's claims that he has never paid for sex.
"They are all well provided for," Berlusconi tells Tarantini of the girls passing through his Rome residence in one of the thousands of recorded conversations released, which filled Italian newspapers yesterday.
In another conversation, a woman named Vanessa Di Meglio sends a text from Berlusconi's residence to Tarantini at 5.52am asking "Who pays? Do we ask him or you?"
Tarantini's supply of women first made the headlines thanks to the revelations of prostitute Patrizia D'Addario, who claimed Tarantini recruited her to have sex with Berlusconi. A second scandal has since erupted over Berlusconi's subsequent parties at his villa near Milan, with the Prime Minister on trial accused of paying underage Moroccan dancer Karima El Mahroug for sex.
The newly published wiretaps give startling insight into Berlusconi's sexual appetites. "Last night I had a queue outside the door of the bedroom ... There were 11 ... I only did eight because I could not do it any more," Berlusconi told Tarantini in 2009. "Listen, all the beds are full here ... this lot won't go home, even at gunpoint."
Berlusconi, who boasted to one TV showgirl that he was only "prime minister in my spare time", told Tarantini in September 2008 that he needed to reduce the flow of women since he had a "terrible week" ahead seeing Pope Benedict, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and then British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
Berlusconi has long insisted that his private parties are informal but elegant affairs, that extend only as far as joke-telling and songs, but is revealed on the tapes as putting pressure on Tarantini and his associates to conjure up beautiful female guests.
He is heard complaining he will need a caravan to pick up all the girls, while in another conversation Tarantini says to a colleague: "Find a whore, please."
Tarantini, an entrepreneur from Bari who sold prosthetic limbs before meeting Berlusconi in 2008, quickly became a confidant of the Prime Minister. "Listen, Gianpaolo, now we need at most two each," said Berlusconi in one call. "I want that you have yours, otherwise I will always feel I am in your debt. Then we can trade. After all, the pussy needs to go around."
Berlusconi also sought to impress his female guests by inviting senior managers from his cinema production company and from state TV network RAI.
"These are people who can get jobs for whoever they want," he told Tarantini. "Therefore the girls will get the idea they are in front of men who can decide their destiny."
In a letter published in the newspaper Il Foglio, Berlusconi hit back at the latest wiretaps, claiming: "My private life is not a crime, my lifestyle may or may not please, it is personal, reserved and irreproachable."
Opposition leaders, meanwhile, demanded an inquiry into suggestions in the wiretaps that Berlusconi used government aircraft to ferry prostitutes to his parties.
Opposition Democratic Party official Davide Zoggia said Italy with its grave problems could not allow itself an executive which governs in its spare time. Berlusconi must resign, he said.