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Berlusconi On Tape: "I'm Leaving This Shitty Country."

Aaron Liu |
September 2, 2011 | 2:26 p.m. PDT

Associate News Editor

Berlusconi’s comments come as Italy faces economic woes. (Creative Commons)
Berlusconi’s comments come as Italy faces economic woes. (Creative Commons)
Phone conversations secretly taped by police shed further light into the sex-and-blackmail controversy dogging Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

Berlusconi expressed his desire to leave “this shitty country” in a July exchange with a newspaper editor suspected of extorting money from the beleaguered prime minister.  As reported by The Guardian:

It was in a phone conversation with Lavitola [the editor] late on 13 July that Berlusconi was said by the judge to have erupted in anger.

"They can say about me that I screw. It's the only thing they can say about me. Is that clear?" he said to the man allegedly blackmailing him. "They can put listening devices where they like. They can tap my telephone calls. I don't give a fuck. I … In a few months, I'm getting out to mind my own fucking business, from somewhere else, and so I'm leaving this shitty country of which I'm sickened."

These revelations come as police arrested Italian businessman Giampaolo Tarantini, who is also suspected of petering money from Berlusconi.

Police charge Tarantini and his wife with extorting €500,000 (around $700,000) and other perks “of economic significance.” Berlusconi maintains that the payments were voluntary.

Tarantini made headlines two years ago when he revealed he had paid women to party with Berlusconi numerous times, including once at his official residence in Rome.

Berlusconi, 74, is also the richest man in Italy. In the midst of the Berlusconi scandal, Italy faces serious economic concerns including walloping debt and dismal GDP growth -- concerns almost all but ignored by the preoccupied prime minister.

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