Silvio Berlusconi

Silvio Berlusconi

Overview
Silvio Berlusconi (ˈsilvjo berluˈskoːni; born 29 September 1936), also known as Il Cavaliere (literally, The Knight) – from knighthood to the Order of Merit for Labour
Order of Merit for Labour
The Order of Merit for Labour was founded as national order of chivalry in 1923 by King Vittorio Emanuele III of Italy; it is awarded to those "who have been singularly meritorious" in agriculture, industry and commerce, crafts, lending and insurance. It is a continuation of the earlier Ordine al...

 which he received in 1977 – is an Italian politician
Politics of Italy
The politics of Italy is conducted through a parliamentary, democratic republic with a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised collectively by the Council of Ministers, which is led by the President of the Council of Ministers, referred to as "Presidente del Consiglio" in Italian...

 and businessman who served three terms as Prime Minister of Italy
Prime minister of Italy
The Prime Minister of Italy is the head of government of the Italian Republic...

, from 1994 to 1995, 2001 to 2006, and 2008 to 2011. Berlusconi is also the controlling shareholder of Mediaset
Mediaset
Mediaset S.p.A., known as Gruppo Mediaset in Italian, is an Italian-based media company which is the largest commercial broadcaster in the country...

 and owner of A.C. Milan
A.C. Milan
Associazione Calcio Milan, commonly referred to as A.C. Milan or simply Milan , is a professional Italian football club based in Milan, Lombardy, that plays in the Serie A. Milan was founded in 1899 by English lace-maker Herbert Kilpin and businessman Alfred Edwards among others...

.

Berlusconi is the longest-serving post-war Prime Minister of Italy, and third longest-serving since Italy's unification, after Benito Mussolini
Benito Mussolini
Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini was an Italian politician who led the National Fascist Party and is credited with being one of the key figures in the creation of Fascism....

 and Giovanni Giolitti
Giovanni Giolitti
Giovanni Giolitti was an Italian statesman. He was the 19th, 25th, 29th, 32nd and 37th Prime Minister of Italy between 1892 and 1921. A left-wing liberal, Giolitti's periods in office were notable for the passage of a wide range of progressive social reforms which improved the living standards of...

, holding three separate terms. Technically, he has been sworn in four times because after a cabinet reshuffle, as happened with Berlusconi in 2005, the new ministry is sworn in and subjected to a vote of confidence.
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Quotations

On hair loss: I have little hair because my brain is so big it pushes the hair out

His response to worldwide condemnation of the above speech on 9/11: : They have tried to hang me on an isolated word, taken out of context from my whole speech ... I did not say anything against the Islamic civilization... It's the work of some people in the Italian leftist press who wanted to tarnish my image and destroy my long-standing relations with Arabs and Muslims.

I am absolutely sure to be the most democratic man to ever become Prime Minister in Italy. (ASCA, January 25, 2002)

I always win, I'm cursed to win. (ANSA, May 24, 2003)

I know in Italy there is a producer, producing a film on Nazi concentration camps. I will suggest you for the role of Kapo (Arbeitslager)|kapo. You would be perfect for that role (said to German MEP Martin Schulz|Martin Schulz, European Parliament| European Parliament, July 2, 2003)

I'm a man of honour, a truthful person, a gentleman of absolute morality. (From "La Repubblica", July 13, 2003)

About magistrates he said: "To do that kind of job you must be mentally disturbed. If they do that kind of job is because they are anthropologically different from the other human beings" (ANSA, September 5, 2003)

At the Brussels summit, at the end of Italy's EU presidency, in December 2003: "Let's talk about football and women." (Turning to four-times-married German Chancellor, Gerhard Schröder.) "Gerhard, why don't you start?"

Encyclopedia
Silvio Berlusconi (ˈsilvjo berluˈskoːni; born 29 September 1936), also known as Il Cavaliere (literally, The Knight) – from knighthood to the Order of Merit for Labour
Order of Merit for Labour
The Order of Merit for Labour was founded as national order of chivalry in 1923 by King Vittorio Emanuele III of Italy; it is awarded to those "who have been singularly meritorious" in agriculture, industry and commerce, crafts, lending and insurance. It is a continuation of the earlier Ordine al...

 which he received in 1977 – is an Italian politician
Politics of Italy
The politics of Italy is conducted through a parliamentary, democratic republic with a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised collectively by the Council of Ministers, which is led by the President of the Council of Ministers, referred to as "Presidente del Consiglio" in Italian...

 and businessman who served three terms as Prime Minister of Italy
Prime minister of Italy
The Prime Minister of Italy is the head of government of the Italian Republic...

, from 1994 to 1995, 2001 to 2006, and 2008 to 2011. Berlusconi is also the controlling shareholder of Mediaset
Mediaset
Mediaset S.p.A., known as Gruppo Mediaset in Italian, is an Italian-based media company which is the largest commercial broadcaster in the country...

 and owner of A.C. Milan
A.C. Milan
Associazione Calcio Milan, commonly referred to as A.C. Milan or simply Milan , is a professional Italian football club based in Milan, Lombardy, that plays in the Serie A. Milan was founded in 1899 by English lace-maker Herbert Kilpin and businessman Alfred Edwards among others...

.

Berlusconi is the longest-serving post-war Prime Minister of Italy, and third longest-serving since Italy's unification, after Benito Mussolini
Benito Mussolini
Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini was an Italian politician who led the National Fascist Party and is credited with being one of the key figures in the creation of Fascism....

 and Giovanni Giolitti
Giovanni Giolitti
Giovanni Giolitti was an Italian statesman. He was the 19th, 25th, 29th, 32nd and 37th Prime Minister of Italy between 1892 and 1921. A left-wing liberal, Giolitti's periods in office were notable for the passage of a wide range of progressive social reforms which improved the living standards of...

, holding three separate terms. Technically, he has been sworn in four times because after a cabinet reshuffle, as happened with Berlusconi in 2005, the new ministry is sworn in and subjected to a vote of confidence. He is the leader of the People of Freedom
The People of Freedom
The People of Freedom is a centre-right political party in Italy. With the Democratic Party, it is one of the two major parties of the current Italian party system....

 political movement, a centre-right party he founded in 2009. From November 2009 to November 2011, he was the longest-serving leader of a G8
G8
The Group of Eight is a forum, created by France in 1975, for the governments of seven major economies: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States. In 1997, the group added Russia, thus becoming the G8...

 country. As of 2011, Forbes
Forbes
Forbes is an American publishing and media company. Its flagship publication, the Forbes magazine, is published biweekly. Its primary competitors in the national business magazine category are Fortune, which is also published biweekly, and Business Week...

magazine has ranked him as the 118th richest man in the world with a net worth of US$6.2 billion.

Berlusconi's political rise was rapid and surrounded by some controversy. He was elected as a Member of the Chamber of Deputies
Italian Chamber of Deputies
The Italian Chamber of Deputies is the lower house of the Parliament of Italy. It has 630 seats, a plurality of which is controlled presently by liberal-conservative party People of Freedom. Twelve deputies represent Italian citizens outside of Italy. Deputies meet in the Palazzo Montecitorio. A...

 for the first time and appointed as Prime Minister following the March 1994 parliamentary elections
Italian general election, 1994
An early national general election was held in Italy on March 27, 1994 to elect members of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate. Silvio Berlusconi's centre-right alliance won handily the election for the Chamber and only narrowly lost that for the Senate....

, when Forza Italia
Forza Italia
Forza Italia was a liberal-conservative, Christian democratic, and liberal political party in Italy, with a large social democratic minority, that was led by Silvio Berlusconi, four times Prime Minister of Italy....

 gained a relative majority a mere three months after having been officially launched. However, his cabinet collapsed after nine months, due to internal disagreements in his coalition. In the April 1996 snap parliamentary elections
Italian general election, 1996
An early national general election was held in Italy on 21 April, 1996 to elect members of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate of the Republic...

, Berlusconi was defeated by the centre-left candidate Romano Prodi
Romano Prodi
Romano Prodi is an Italian politician and statesman. He served as the Prime Minister of Italy, from 17 May 1996 to 21 October 1998 and from 17 May 2006 to 8 May 2008...

. In the May 2001 parliamentary elections
Italian general election, 2001
A national general election was held in Italy on May 13, 2001 to elect members of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate of the Republic. The 14th Parliament of the Italian republic was chosen....

, he was again the centre-right candidate for Prime Minister and won against the centre-left candidate Francesco Rutelli. Berlusconi then formed his second and third cabinets, until 2006.

Berlusconi was leader of the centre-right coalition in the April 2006 parliamentary elections
Italian general election, 2006
In the Italian general election, 2006 for the renewal of the two Chambers of the Parliament of Italy held on April 9 and April 10, 2006 the incumbent prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, leader of the center-right House of Freedoms, was narrowly defeated by Romano Prodi, leader of the center-left The...

, which he lost by a very narrow margin, his opponent again being Romano Prodi. He was re-elected in the parliamentary elections of April 2008
Italian general election, 2008
A snap general election was held in Italy on 13 April and 14 April 2008. The election came after President Giorgio Napolitano dissolved parliament on 6 February 2008 following the defeat of the government of Prime Minister Romano Prodi in a January 2008 Senate vote, and the unsuccessful tentative...

 following the collapse of Prodi's government
Prodi II Cabinet
The Prodi II Cabinet was the cabinet of the government of Italy from 17 May 2006 to 8 May 2008, a total of 722 days, or 1 year, 11 months and 21 days...

 and sworn in for a third time as Prime Minister on 8 May 2008.

Berlusconi was criticised for his dominance over the Italian media whilst he held political office. His broadcasting company Mediaset
Mediaset
Mediaset S.p.A., known as Gruppo Mediaset in Italian, is an Italian-based media company which is the largest commercial broadcaster in the country...

 is the largest in the country and Berlusconi never fulfilled his election promises to sell off his assets in the company to avoid a conflict of interest
Conflict of interest
A conflict of interest occurs when an individual or organization is involved in multiple interests, one of which could possibly corrupt the motivation for an act in the other....

. His leadership was also undermined by sex scandals
Silvio Berlusconi underage prostitution charges
Silvio Berlusconi, former Prime Minister of Italy, is accused of paying Moroccan nightclub dancer Karima El Mahroug – also known by the stage name Ruby Rubacuori  – for sexual services between February and May 2010 when she was under the age of 18Although neither sex with persons between...

. After losing his majority in parliament amid growing fiscal problems related to the European debt crisis, Berlusconi officially resigned as Prime Minister on 16 November 2011.

Family background and personal life


Berlusconi was born in Milan
Milan
Milan is the second-largest city in Italy and the capital city of the region of Lombardy and of the province of Milan. The city proper has a population of about 1.3 million, while its urban area, roughly coinciding with its administrative province and the bordering Province of Monza and Brianza ,...

 in 1936. He was raised there in a middle-class family. His father, Luigi Berlusconi (1908–1989) was a bank employee and his mother, Rosa Bossi (1911–2008), a housewife. Silvio was the first of three children; he had a sister, Maria Francesca Antonietta Berlusconi (1943–2009) and has a brother, Paolo Berlusconi (born 1949), both entrepreneurs.

After completing his secondary school education at a Salesian college, he studied law at the Università Statale
University of Milan
The University of Milan is a higher education institution in Milan, Italy. It is one of the largest universities in Europe, with about 62,801 students, a teaching and research staff of 2,455 and a non-teaching staff of 2,200....

 in Milan, graduating (with honor) in 1961 with a thesis on the legal aspects of advertising. Berlusconi was not required to serve the standard one-year stint in the Italian army
Italian Army
The Italian Army is the ground defence force of the Italian Armed Forces. It is all-volunteer force of active-duty personnel, numbering 108,355 in 2010. Its best-known combat vehicles are the Dardo infantry fighting vehicle, the Centauro tank destroyer and the Ariete tank, and among its aircraft...

 which was compulsory at the time. During his university studies he was a upright bass
Double bass
The double bass, also called the string bass, upright bass, standup bass or contrabass, is the largest and lowest-pitched bowed string instrument in the modern symphony orchestra, with strings usually tuned to E1, A1, D2 and G2...

 player in a group formed with the now Mediaset
Mediaset
Mediaset S.p.A., known as Gruppo Mediaset in Italian, is an Italian-based media company which is the largest commercial broadcaster in the country...

 Chairman and amateur pianist Fedele Confalonieri and occasionally performed as a cruise ship
Cruise ship
A cruise ship or cruise liner is a passenger ship used for pleasure voyages, where the voyage itself and the ship's amenities are part of the experience, as well as the different destinations along the way...

 crooner
Crooner
Crooner is an American epithet given to male singers of pop standards, mostly from the Great American Songbook, either backed by a full orchestra, a big band or by a piano. Originally it was an ironic term denoting an emphatically sentimental, often emotional singing style made possible by the use...

. In later life he wrote AC Milan's anthem
Anthem
The term anthem means either a specific form of Anglican church music , or more generally, a song of celebration, usually acting as a symbol for a distinct group of people, as in the term "national anthem" or "sports anthem".-Etymology:The word is derived from the Greek via Old English , a word...

 with the Italian music producer and pop singer Tony Renis and Forza Italia's anthem with the opera director Renato Serio. With the Neapolitan
Naples
Naples is a city in Southern Italy, situated on the country's west coast by the Gulf of Naples. Lying between two notable volcanic regions, Mount Vesuvius and the Phlegraean Fields, it is the capital of the region of Campania and of the province of Naples...

 singer Mariano Apicella he wrote two Neapolitan song albums: Meglio 'na canzone in 2003 and L'ultimo amore in 2006. Berlusconi also owns the Serie A
Serie A
Serie A , now called Serie A TIM due to sponsorship by Telecom Italia, is a professional league competition for football clubs located at the top of the Italian football league system and has been operating for over eighty years since 1929. It had been organized by Lega Calcio until 2010, but a new...

 Club AC Milan.

In 1965, he married Carla Elvira Dall'Oglio, and they had two children: Maria Elvira
Marina Berlusconi
Marina Berlusconi is an Italian businesswoman, chairwoman of Fininvest Holding and of the Arnoldo Mondadori Editore publishing group...

, better known as Marina (born 1966), and Pier Silvio
Pier Silvio Berlusconi
Pier Silvio Berlusconi is an Italian entrepreneur in the media business. He is the son of the former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi....

 (b. 1969). By 1980, Berlusconi had established a relationship with the actress Veronica Lario
Veronica Lario
Veronica Lario is a former Italian actress, ex wife of former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, although she has filed for legal separation, which is the first step towards divorce in Italian law.-Biography:Born in Bologna, Lario was an actress in low budget films...

 (born Miriam Bartolini), with whom he subsequently had three children: Barbara (b. 1984), Eleonora (b. 1986) and Luigi (b. 1988). He was divorced from Dall'Oglio in 1985, and married Lario in 1990. By this time, Berlusconi was a well-known entrepreneur, and his wedding was a notable social event. One of his best men was former Prime Minister and leader of the Italian Socialist Party
Italian Socialist Party
The Italian Socialist Party was a socialist and later social-democratic political party in Italy founded in Genoa in 1892.Once the dominant leftist party in Italy, it was eclipsed in status by the Italian Communist Party following World War II...

 Bettino Craxi
Bettino Craxi
Benedetto Craxi was an Italian politician, head of the Italian Socialist Party from 1976 to 1993, the first socialist President of the Council of Ministers of Italy from 1983 to 1987.-Political career:...

. In May 2009, Lario announced that she was to file for divorce.
Silvio Berlusconi (ˈsilvjo berluˈskoːni; born 29 September 1936), also known as Il Cavaliere (literally, The Knight) – from knighthood to the Order of Merit for Labour
Order of Merit for Labour
The Order of Merit for Labour was founded as national order of chivalry in 1923 by King Vittorio Emanuele III of Italy; it is awarded to those "who have been singularly meritorious" in agriculture, industry and commerce, crafts, lending and insurance. It is a continuation of the earlier Ordine al...

 which he received in 1977 – is an Italian politician
Politics of Italy
The politics of Italy is conducted through a parliamentary, democratic republic with a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised collectively by the Council of Ministers, which is led by the President of the Council of Ministers, referred to as "Presidente del Consiglio" in Italian...

 and businessman who served three terms as Prime Minister of Italy
Prime minister of Italy
The Prime Minister of Italy is the head of government of the Italian Republic...

, from 1994 to 1995, 2001 to 2006, and 2008 to 2011. Berlusconi is also the controlling shareholder of Mediaset
Mediaset
Mediaset S.p.A., known as Gruppo Mediaset in Italian, is an Italian-based media company which is the largest commercial broadcaster in the country...

 and owner of A.C. Milan
A.C. Milan
Associazione Calcio Milan, commonly referred to as A.C. Milan or simply Milan , is a professional Italian football club based in Milan, Lombardy, that plays in the Serie A. Milan was founded in 1899 by English lace-maker Herbert Kilpin and businessman Alfred Edwards among others...

.

Berlusconi is the longest-serving post-war Prime Minister of Italy, and third longest-serving since Italy's unification, after Benito Mussolini
Benito Mussolini
Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini was an Italian politician who led the National Fascist Party and is credited with being one of the key figures in the creation of Fascism....

 and Giovanni Giolitti
Giovanni Giolitti
Giovanni Giolitti was an Italian statesman. He was the 19th, 25th, 29th, 32nd and 37th Prime Minister of Italy between 1892 and 1921. A left-wing liberal, Giolitti's periods in office were notable for the passage of a wide range of progressive social reforms which improved the living standards of...

, holding three separate terms. Technically, he has been sworn in four times because after a cabinet reshuffle, as happened with Berlusconi in 2005, the new ministry is sworn in and subjected to a vote of confidence. He is the leader of the People of Freedom
The People of Freedom
The People of Freedom is a centre-right political party in Italy. With the Democratic Party, it is one of the two major parties of the current Italian party system....

 political movement, a centre-right party he founded in 2009. From November 2009 to November 2011, he was the longest-serving leader of a G8
G8
The Group of Eight is a forum, created by France in 1975, for the governments of seven major economies: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States. In 1997, the group added Russia, thus becoming the G8...

 country. As of 2011, Forbes
Forbes
Forbes is an American publishing and media company. Its flagship publication, the Forbes magazine, is published biweekly. Its primary competitors in the national business magazine category are Fortune, which is also published biweekly, and Business Week...

magazine has ranked him as the 118th richest man in the world with a net worth of US$6.2 billion.

Berlusconi's political rise was rapid and surrounded by some controversy. He was elected as a Member of the Chamber of Deputies
Italian Chamber of Deputies
The Italian Chamber of Deputies is the lower house of the Parliament of Italy. It has 630 seats, a plurality of which is controlled presently by liberal-conservative party People of Freedom. Twelve deputies represent Italian citizens outside of Italy. Deputies meet in the Palazzo Montecitorio. A...

 for the first time and appointed as Prime Minister following the March 1994 parliamentary elections
Italian general election, 1994
An early national general election was held in Italy on March 27, 1994 to elect members of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate. Silvio Berlusconi's centre-right alliance won handily the election for the Chamber and only narrowly lost that for the Senate....

, when Forza Italia
Forza Italia
Forza Italia was a liberal-conservative, Christian democratic, and liberal political party in Italy, with a large social democratic minority, that was led by Silvio Berlusconi, four times Prime Minister of Italy....

 gained a relative majority a mere three months after having been officially launched. However, his cabinet collapsed after nine months, due to internal disagreements in his coalition. In the April 1996 snap parliamentary elections
Italian general election, 1996
An early national general election was held in Italy on 21 April, 1996 to elect members of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate of the Republic...

, Berlusconi was defeated by the centre-left candidate Romano Prodi
Romano Prodi
Romano Prodi is an Italian politician and statesman. He served as the Prime Minister of Italy, from 17 May 1996 to 21 October 1998 and from 17 May 2006 to 8 May 2008...

. In the May 2001 parliamentary elections
Italian general election, 2001
A national general election was held in Italy on May 13, 2001 to elect members of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate of the Republic. The 14th Parliament of the Italian republic was chosen....

, he was again the centre-right candidate for Prime Minister and won against the centre-left candidate Francesco Rutelli. Berlusconi then formed his second and third cabinets, until 2006.

Berlusconi was leader of the centre-right coalition in the April 2006 parliamentary elections
Italian general election, 2006
In the Italian general election, 2006 for the renewal of the two Chambers of the Parliament of Italy held on April 9 and April 10, 2006 the incumbent prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, leader of the center-right House of Freedoms, was narrowly defeated by Romano Prodi, leader of the center-left The...

, which he lost by a very narrow margin, his opponent again being Romano Prodi. He was re-elected in the parliamentary elections of April 2008
Italian general election, 2008
A snap general election was held in Italy on 13 April and 14 April 2008. The election came after President Giorgio Napolitano dissolved parliament on 6 February 2008 following the defeat of the government of Prime Minister Romano Prodi in a January 2008 Senate vote, and the unsuccessful tentative...

 following the collapse of Prodi's government
Prodi II Cabinet
The Prodi II Cabinet was the cabinet of the government of Italy from 17 May 2006 to 8 May 2008, a total of 722 days, or 1 year, 11 months and 21 days...

 and sworn in for a third time as Prime Minister on 8 May 2008.

Berlusconi was criticised for his dominance over the Italian media whilst he held political office. His broadcasting company Mediaset
Mediaset
Mediaset S.p.A., known as Gruppo Mediaset in Italian, is an Italian-based media company which is the largest commercial broadcaster in the country...

 is the largest in the country and Berlusconi never fulfilled his election promises to sell off his assets in the company to avoid a conflict of interest
Conflict of interest
A conflict of interest occurs when an individual or organization is involved in multiple interests, one of which could possibly corrupt the motivation for an act in the other....

. His leadership was also undermined by sex scandals
Silvio Berlusconi underage prostitution charges
Silvio Berlusconi, former Prime Minister of Italy, is accused of paying Moroccan nightclub dancer Karima El Mahroug – also known by the stage name Ruby Rubacuori  – for sexual services between February and May 2010 when she was under the age of 18Although neither sex with persons between...

. After losing his majority in parliament amid growing fiscal problems related to the European debt crisis, Berlusconi officially resigned as Prime Minister on 16 November 2011.

Family background and personal life


Berlusconi was born in Milan
Milan
Milan is the second-largest city in Italy and the capital city of the region of Lombardy and of the province of Milan. The city proper has a population of about 1.3 million, while its urban area, roughly coinciding with its administrative province and the bordering Province of Monza and Brianza ,...

 in 1936. He was raised there in a middle-class family. His father, Luigi Berlusconi (1908–1989) was a bank employee and his mother, Rosa Bossi (1911–2008), a housewife. Silvio was the first of three children; he had a sister, Maria Francesca Antonietta Berlusconi (1943–2009) and has a brother, Paolo Berlusconi (born 1949), both entrepreneurs.

After completing his secondary school education at a Salesian college, he studied law at the Università Statale
University of Milan
The University of Milan is a higher education institution in Milan, Italy. It is one of the largest universities in Europe, with about 62,801 students, a teaching and research staff of 2,455 and a non-teaching staff of 2,200....

 in Milan, graduating (with honor) in 1961 with a thesis on the legal aspects of advertising. Berlusconi was not required to serve the standard one-year stint in the Italian army
Italian Army
The Italian Army is the ground defence force of the Italian Armed Forces. It is all-volunteer force of active-duty personnel, numbering 108,355 in 2010. Its best-known combat vehicles are the Dardo infantry fighting vehicle, the Centauro tank destroyer and the Ariete tank, and among its aircraft...

 which was compulsory at the time. During his university studies he was a upright bass
Double bass
The double bass, also called the string bass, upright bass, standup bass or contrabass, is the largest and lowest-pitched bowed string instrument in the modern symphony orchestra, with strings usually tuned to E1, A1, D2 and G2...

 player in a group formed with the now Mediaset
Mediaset
Mediaset S.p.A., known as Gruppo Mediaset in Italian, is an Italian-based media company which is the largest commercial broadcaster in the country...

 Chairman and amateur pianist Fedele Confalonieri and occasionally performed as a cruise ship
Cruise ship
A cruise ship or cruise liner is a passenger ship used for pleasure voyages, where the voyage itself and the ship's amenities are part of the experience, as well as the different destinations along the way...

 crooner
Crooner
Crooner is an American epithet given to male singers of pop standards, mostly from the Great American Songbook, either backed by a full orchestra, a big band or by a piano. Originally it was an ironic term denoting an emphatically sentimental, often emotional singing style made possible by the use...

. In later life he wrote AC Milan's anthem
Anthem
The term anthem means either a specific form of Anglican church music , or more generally, a song of celebration, usually acting as a symbol for a distinct group of people, as in the term "national anthem" or "sports anthem".-Etymology:The word is derived from the Greek via Old English , a word...

 with the Italian music producer and pop singer Tony Renis and Forza Italia's anthem with the opera director Renato Serio. With the Neapolitan
Naples
Naples is a city in Southern Italy, situated on the country's west coast by the Gulf of Naples. Lying between two notable volcanic regions, Mount Vesuvius and the Phlegraean Fields, it is the capital of the region of Campania and of the province of Naples...

 singer Mariano Apicella he wrote two Neapolitan song albums: Meglio 'na canzone in 2003 and L'ultimo amore in 2006. Berlusconi also owns the Serie A
Serie A
Serie A , now called Serie A TIM due to sponsorship by Telecom Italia, is a professional league competition for football clubs located at the top of the Italian football league system and has been operating for over eighty years since 1929. It had been organized by Lega Calcio until 2010, but a new...

 Club AC Milan.

In 1965, he married Carla Elvira Dall'Oglio, and they had two children: Maria Elvira
Marina Berlusconi
Marina Berlusconi is an Italian businesswoman, chairwoman of Fininvest Holding and of the Arnoldo Mondadori Editore publishing group...

, better known as Marina (born 1966), and Pier Silvio
Pier Silvio Berlusconi
Pier Silvio Berlusconi is an Italian entrepreneur in the media business. He is the son of the former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi....

 (b. 1969). By 1980, Berlusconi had established a relationship with the actress Veronica Lario
Veronica Lario
Veronica Lario is a former Italian actress, ex wife of former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, although she has filed for legal separation, which is the first step towards divorce in Italian law.-Biography:Born in Bologna, Lario was an actress in low budget films...

 (born Miriam Bartolini), with whom he subsequently had three children: Barbara (b. 1984), Eleonora (b. 1986) and Luigi (b. 1988). He was divorced from Dall'Oglio in 1985, and married Lario in 1990. By this time, Berlusconi was a well-known entrepreneur, and his wedding was a notable social event. One of his best men was former Prime Minister and leader of the Italian Socialist Party
Italian Socialist Party
The Italian Socialist Party was a socialist and later social-democratic political party in Italy founded in Genoa in 1892.Once the dominant leftist party in Italy, it was eclipsed in status by the Italian Communist Party following World War II...

 Bettino Craxi
Bettino Craxi
Benedetto Craxi was an Italian politician, head of the Italian Socialist Party from 1976 to 1993, the first socialist President of the Council of Ministers of Italy from 1983 to 1987.-Political career:...

. In May 2009, Lario announced that she was to file for divorce.
Silvio Berlusconi (ˈsilvjo berluˈskoːni; born 29 September 1936), also known as Il Cavaliere (literally, The Knight) – from knighthood to the Order of Merit for Labour
Order of Merit for Labour
The Order of Merit for Labour was founded as national order of chivalry in 1923 by King Vittorio Emanuele III of Italy; it is awarded to those "who have been singularly meritorious" in agriculture, industry and commerce, crafts, lending and insurance. It is a continuation of the earlier Ordine al...

 which he received in 1977 – is an Italian politician
Politics of Italy
The politics of Italy is conducted through a parliamentary, democratic republic with a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised collectively by the Council of Ministers, which is led by the President of the Council of Ministers, referred to as "Presidente del Consiglio" in Italian...

 and businessman who served three terms as Prime Minister of Italy
Prime minister of Italy
The Prime Minister of Italy is the head of government of the Italian Republic...

, from 1994 to 1995, 2001 to 2006, and 2008 to 2011. Berlusconi is also the controlling shareholder of Mediaset
Mediaset
Mediaset S.p.A., known as Gruppo Mediaset in Italian, is an Italian-based media company which is the largest commercial broadcaster in the country...

 and owner of A.C. Milan
A.C. Milan
Associazione Calcio Milan, commonly referred to as A.C. Milan or simply Milan , is a professional Italian football club based in Milan, Lombardy, that plays in the Serie A. Milan was founded in 1899 by English lace-maker Herbert Kilpin and businessman Alfred Edwards among others...

.

Berlusconi is the longest-serving post-war Prime Minister of Italy, and third longest-serving since Italy's unification, after Benito Mussolini
Benito Mussolini
Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini was an Italian politician who led the National Fascist Party and is credited with being one of the key figures in the creation of Fascism....

 and Giovanni Giolitti
Giovanni Giolitti
Giovanni Giolitti was an Italian statesman. He was the 19th, 25th, 29th, 32nd and 37th Prime Minister of Italy between 1892 and 1921. A left-wing liberal, Giolitti's periods in office were notable for the passage of a wide range of progressive social reforms which improved the living standards of...

, holding three separate terms. Technically, he has been sworn in four times because after a cabinet reshuffle, as happened with Berlusconi in 2005, the new ministry is sworn in and subjected to a vote of confidence. He is the leader of the People of Freedom
The People of Freedom
The People of Freedom is a centre-right political party in Italy. With the Democratic Party, it is one of the two major parties of the current Italian party system....

 political movement, a centre-right party he founded in 2009. From November 2009 to November 2011, he was the longest-serving leader of a G8
G8
The Group of Eight is a forum, created by France in 1975, for the governments of seven major economies: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States. In 1997, the group added Russia, thus becoming the G8...

 country. As of 2011, Forbes
Forbes
Forbes is an American publishing and media company. Its flagship publication, the Forbes magazine, is published biweekly. Its primary competitors in the national business magazine category are Fortune, which is also published biweekly, and Business Week...

magazine has ranked him as the 118th richest man in the world with a net worth of US$6.2 billion.

Berlusconi's political rise was rapid and surrounded by some controversy. He was elected as a Member of the Chamber of Deputies
Italian Chamber of Deputies
The Italian Chamber of Deputies is the lower house of the Parliament of Italy. It has 630 seats, a plurality of which is controlled presently by liberal-conservative party People of Freedom. Twelve deputies represent Italian citizens outside of Italy. Deputies meet in the Palazzo Montecitorio. A...

 for the first time and appointed as Prime Minister following the March 1994 parliamentary elections
Italian general election, 1994
An early national general election was held in Italy on March 27, 1994 to elect members of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate. Silvio Berlusconi's centre-right alliance won handily the election for the Chamber and only narrowly lost that for the Senate....

, when Forza Italia
Forza Italia
Forza Italia was a liberal-conservative, Christian democratic, and liberal political party in Italy, with a large social democratic minority, that was led by Silvio Berlusconi, four times Prime Minister of Italy....

 gained a relative majority a mere three months after having been officially launched. However, his cabinet collapsed after nine months, due to internal disagreements in his coalition. In the April 1996 snap parliamentary elections
Italian general election, 1996
An early national general election was held in Italy on 21 April, 1996 to elect members of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate of the Republic...

, Berlusconi was defeated by the centre-left candidate Romano Prodi
Romano Prodi
Romano Prodi is an Italian politician and statesman. He served as the Prime Minister of Italy, from 17 May 1996 to 21 October 1998 and from 17 May 2006 to 8 May 2008...

. In the May 2001 parliamentary elections
Italian general election, 2001
A national general election was held in Italy on May 13, 2001 to elect members of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate of the Republic. The 14th Parliament of the Italian republic was chosen....

, he was again the centre-right candidate for Prime Minister and won against the centre-left candidate Francesco Rutelli. Berlusconi then formed his second and third cabinets, until 2006.

Berlusconi was leader of the centre-right coalition in the April 2006 parliamentary elections
Italian general election, 2006
In the Italian general election, 2006 for the renewal of the two Chambers of the Parliament of Italy held on April 9 and April 10, 2006 the incumbent prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, leader of the center-right House of Freedoms, was narrowly defeated by Romano Prodi, leader of the center-left The...

, which he lost by a very narrow margin, his opponent again being Romano Prodi. He was re-elected in the parliamentary elections of April 2008
Italian general election, 2008
A snap general election was held in Italy on 13 April and 14 April 2008. The election came after President Giorgio Napolitano dissolved parliament on 6 February 2008 following the defeat of the government of Prime Minister Romano Prodi in a January 2008 Senate vote, and the unsuccessful tentative...

 following the collapse of Prodi's government
Prodi II Cabinet
The Prodi II Cabinet was the cabinet of the government of Italy from 17 May 2006 to 8 May 2008, a total of 722 days, or 1 year, 11 months and 21 days...

 and sworn in for a third time as Prime Minister on 8 May 2008.

Berlusconi was criticised for his dominance over the Italian media whilst he held political office. His broadcasting company Mediaset
Mediaset
Mediaset S.p.A., known as Gruppo Mediaset in Italian, is an Italian-based media company which is the largest commercial broadcaster in the country...

 is the largest in the country and Berlusconi never fulfilled his election promises to sell off his assets in the company to avoid a conflict of interest
Conflict of interest
A conflict of interest occurs when an individual or organization is involved in multiple interests, one of which could possibly corrupt the motivation for an act in the other....

. His leadership was also undermined by sex scandals
Silvio Berlusconi underage prostitution charges
Silvio Berlusconi, former Prime Minister of Italy, is accused of paying Moroccan nightclub dancer Karima El Mahroug – also known by the stage name Ruby Rubacuori  – for sexual services between February and May 2010 when she was under the age of 18Although neither sex with persons between...

. After losing his majority in parliament amid growing fiscal problems related to the European debt crisis, Berlusconi officially resigned as Prime Minister on 16 November 2011.

Family background and personal life


Berlusconi was born in Milan
Milan
Milan is the second-largest city in Italy and the capital city of the region of Lombardy and of the province of Milan. The city proper has a population of about 1.3 million, while its urban area, roughly coinciding with its administrative province and the bordering Province of Monza and Brianza ,...

 in 1936. He was raised there in a middle-class family. His father, Luigi Berlusconi (1908–1989) was a bank employee and his mother, Rosa Bossi (1911–2008), a housewife. Silvio was the first of three children; he had a sister, Maria Francesca Antonietta Berlusconi (1943–2009) and has a brother, Paolo Berlusconi (born 1949), both entrepreneurs.

After completing his secondary school education at a Salesian college, he studied law at the Università Statale
University of Milan
The University of Milan is a higher education institution in Milan, Italy. It is one of the largest universities in Europe, with about 62,801 students, a teaching and research staff of 2,455 and a non-teaching staff of 2,200....

 in Milan, graduating (with honor) in 1961 with a thesis on the legal aspects of advertising. Berlusconi was not required to serve the standard one-year stint in the Italian army
Italian Army
The Italian Army is the ground defence force of the Italian Armed Forces. It is all-volunteer force of active-duty personnel, numbering 108,355 in 2010. Its best-known combat vehicles are the Dardo infantry fighting vehicle, the Centauro tank destroyer and the Ariete tank, and among its aircraft...

 which was compulsory at the time. During his university studies he was a upright bass
Double bass
The double bass, also called the string bass, upright bass, standup bass or contrabass, is the largest and lowest-pitched bowed string instrument in the modern symphony orchestra, with strings usually tuned to E1, A1, D2 and G2...

 player in a group formed with the now Mediaset
Mediaset
Mediaset S.p.A., known as Gruppo Mediaset in Italian, is an Italian-based media company which is the largest commercial broadcaster in the country...

 Chairman and amateur pianist Fedele Confalonieri and occasionally performed as a cruise ship
Cruise ship
A cruise ship or cruise liner is a passenger ship used for pleasure voyages, where the voyage itself and the ship's amenities are part of the experience, as well as the different destinations along the way...

 crooner
Crooner
Crooner is an American epithet given to male singers of pop standards, mostly from the Great American Songbook, either backed by a full orchestra, a big band or by a piano. Originally it was an ironic term denoting an emphatically sentimental, often emotional singing style made possible by the use...

. In later life he wrote AC Milan's anthem
Anthem
The term anthem means either a specific form of Anglican church music , or more generally, a song of celebration, usually acting as a symbol for a distinct group of people, as in the term "national anthem" or "sports anthem".-Etymology:The word is derived from the Greek via Old English , a word...

 with the Italian music producer and pop singer Tony Renis and Forza Italia's anthem with the opera director Renato Serio. With the Neapolitan
Naples
Naples is a city in Southern Italy, situated on the country's west coast by the Gulf of Naples. Lying between two notable volcanic regions, Mount Vesuvius and the Phlegraean Fields, it is the capital of the region of Campania and of the province of Naples...

 singer Mariano Apicella he wrote two Neapolitan song albums: Meglio 'na canzone in 2003 and L'ultimo amore in 2006. Berlusconi also owns the Serie A
Serie A
Serie A , now called Serie A TIM due to sponsorship by Telecom Italia, is a professional league competition for football clubs located at the top of the Italian football league system and has been operating for over eighty years since 1929. It had been organized by Lega Calcio until 2010, but a new...

 Club AC Milan.

In 1965, he married Carla Elvira Dall'Oglio, and they had two children: Maria Elvira
Marina Berlusconi
Marina Berlusconi is an Italian businesswoman, chairwoman of Fininvest Holding and of the Arnoldo Mondadori Editore publishing group...

, better known as Marina (born 1966), and Pier Silvio
Pier Silvio Berlusconi
Pier Silvio Berlusconi is an Italian entrepreneur in the media business. He is the son of the former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi....

 (b. 1969). By 1980, Berlusconi had established a relationship with the actress Veronica Lario
Veronica Lario
Veronica Lario is a former Italian actress, ex wife of former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, although she has filed for legal separation, which is the first step towards divorce in Italian law.-Biography:Born in Bologna, Lario was an actress in low budget films...

 (born Miriam Bartolini), with whom he subsequently had three children: Barbara (b. 1984), Eleonora (b. 1986) and Luigi (b. 1988). He was divorced from Dall'Oglio in 1985, and married Lario in 1990. By this time, Berlusconi was a well-known entrepreneur, and his wedding was a notable social event. One of his best men was former Prime Minister and leader of the Italian Socialist Party
Italian Socialist Party
The Italian Socialist Party was a socialist and later social-democratic political party in Italy founded in Genoa in 1892.Once the dominant leftist party in Italy, it was eclipsed in status by the Italian Communist Party following World War II...

 Bettino Craxi
Bettino Craxi
Benedetto Craxi was an Italian politician, head of the Italian Socialist Party from 1976 to 1993, the first socialist President of the Council of Ministers of Italy from 1983 to 1987.-Political career:...

. In May 2009, Lario announced that she was to file for divorce.

Milano Due


Berlusconi's business career began in construction early in the 1960s. After a couple of successful projects, in the late 1960s he carried out the construction of Milano Due
Milano Due
Milano Due is a residential centre in the Italian town of Segrate . It was built as a new town by Edilnord, belonging to the Fininvest group of Silvio Berlusconi....

, a huge residential project of about 10,500 apartments, which he eventually built in Segrate
Segrate
Segrate is a town and comune located in the Province of Milan in the Lombardy region of northern Italy. In December 2004 it had some 33,000 inhabitants....

, an eastern suburb of Milan
Milan
Milan is the second-largest city in Italy and the capital city of the region of Lombardy and of the province of Milan. The city proper has a population of about 1.3 million, while its urban area, roughly coinciding with its administrative province and the bordering Province of Monza and Brianza ,...

.

Telemilano


Berlusconi first entered the media world in 1973 by setting up a small cable television company, 'Telemilano', to service units built on his Segrate properties. It began transmitting in September the following year. After buying two further channels, Berlusconi relocated the station to central Milan in 1977 and began broadcasting over the airwaves.

Fininvest


In 1978 Berlusconi founded his first media group, Fininvest
Fininvest
Fininvest is a financial holding company controlled by Silvio Berlusconi's family and managed by Silvio Berlusconi's eldest daughter Marina Berlusconi.-Structure:...

, and joined the Propaganda Due
Propaganda Due
Propaganda Due , or P2, was a Masonic lodge operating under the jurisdiction of the Grand Orient of Italy from 1945 to 1976 , and a pseudo-Masonic or "black" or "covert" lodge operating illegally from 1976 to...

 masonic lodge. In the five years leading up to 1983 he earned some 113 billion Italian lira
Italian lira
The lira was the currency of Italy between 1861 and 2002. Between 1999 and 2002, the Italian lira was officially a “national subunit” of the euro...

s (
Euro
The euro is the official currency of the eurozone: 17 of the 27 member states of the European Union. It is also the currency used by the Institutions of the European Union. The eurozone consists of Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg,...

58.3 million). The funding sources are still unknown because of the complex system of holding companies
Holding company
A holding company is a company or firm that owns other companies' outstanding stock. It usually refers to a company which does not produce goods or services itself; rather, its purpose is to own shares of other companies. Holding companies allow the reduction of risk for the owners and can allow...

 that makes them impossible to trace, despite investigations conducted by various state attorneys.

Fininvest soon expanded into a country-wide network of local TV stations which had similar programming, forming, in effect, a single national network. This was seen as breaching the Italian public broadcaster RAI
RAI
RAI — Radiotelevisione italiana S.p.A. known until 1954 as Radio Audizioni Italiane, is the Italian state owned public service broadcaster controlled by the Ministry of Economic Development. Rai is the biggest television company in Italy...

's statutory monopoly on creating a national network which was later abolished. In 1980, Berlusconi founded Italy's first private national network, Canale 5
Canale 5
Canale 5 is an Italian private television network of Mediaset, the media branch of Fininvest. Canale 5 was the first private television network to have a national coverage in Italy in 1980, based on a local channel, TeleMilano 58, founded in 1978....

, followed shortly thereafter by Italia 1
Italia 1
Italia 1 is an Italian commercial television channel on the Mediaset network. It is oriented especially at young people.Italia 1 was launched in January 1982 and, originally, was owned by Rusconi; after a few months, however, due to the aggressive dumping practices of Silvio Berlusconi's rival...

 which was bought from the Rusconi family in 1982, and Rete 4
Rete 4
Rete 4 is an Italian television station belonging to the Mediaset network. It is an Italian private commercial TV channel. Rete 4's main news programme is TG4, whose editor-in-chief is Emilio Fede since 1992.-TV Series:...

, which was bought from Mondadori in 1984.

Berlusconi was assisted in his successful effort to create the first and only Italian commercial TV empire by his connections to Bettino Craxi, secretary-general of the Italian Socialist Party
Italian Socialist Party
The Italian Socialist Party was a socialist and later social-democratic political party in Italy founded in Genoa in 1892.Once the dominant leftist party in Italy, it was eclipsed in status by the Italian Communist Party following World War II...

 and also prime minister of Italy at that time, whose government passed, on 20 October 1984, an emergency decree legalising the nationwide transmissions made by Berlusconi's television stations. This was because, on 16 October 1984, judges in Turin
Turin
Turin is a city and major business and cultural centre in northern Italy, capital of the Piedmont region, located mainly on the left bank of the Po River and surrounded by the Alpine arch. The population of the city proper is 909,193 while the population of the urban area is estimated by Eurostat...

, Pescara
Pescara
Pescara is the capital city of the Province of Pescara, in the Abruzzo region of Italy. As of January 1, 2007 it was the most populated city within Abruzzo at 123,059 residents, 400,000 with the surrounding metropolitan area...

 and Rome, enforcing a law which previously restricted nationwide broadcasting to RAI, had ordered these private networks to cease transmitting.

After some political turmoil in 1985 the decree was approved definitively. But for some years, Berlusconi's three channels remained in a legal limbo, and were not therefore allowed, for instance, to broadcast news and political commentary. They were elevated to the status of full national TV channels in 1990 by the so-called Mammì law.

In 1995, Berlusconi sold a portion of his media holdings, first to the German media group Kirch Group
Kirch Group
KirchGruppe was a German media group founded by Leo Kirch. The group collapsed in 2002 largely due to the debts associated with the purchase of sports rights for its television channels and the launch of pay-TV services....

 (now bankrupted) and then by public offer. In 1999 Berlusconi expanded his media interests by forming a partnership with Kirch called the Epsilon MediaGroup.

On 9 July, a Milan court ordered Fininvest to pay 560 million euros in damages to Compagnie Industriali Riunite in a long-running legal dispute.

Political career




As he founded his Forza Italia
Forza Italia
Forza Italia was a liberal-conservative, Christian democratic, and liberal political party in Italy, with a large social democratic minority, that was led by Silvio Berlusconi, four times Prime Minister of Italy....

 party and entered politics, Berlusconi expressed his support for "freedom, the individual, family, enterprise, Italian tradition, Christian tradition and love for weaker people" and his intention to combat fiscal, judicial and bureaucratic oppression of Italians. The political family of the European People's Party
European People's Party
The European People's Party is a pro-European centre-right European political party. The EPP was founded in 1976 by Christian democratic parties, but later it increased its membership to include conservative parties and parties of other centre-right perspectives.The EPP is the most influential of...

 was joined by Forza Italia in 1999 and by the People of Freedom in 2009. Some allies of Berlusconi, especially the Lega Nord, push for controls on immigration. Berlusconi himself has shown some reluctance to pursue such policies as strongly as his allies might like. A number of measures have been taken, with mixed results. The government, after introducing a controversial immigration law
Immigration law
Immigration law refers to national government policies which control the phenomenon of immigration to their country.Immigraton law, regarding foreign citizens, is related to nationality law, which governs the legal status of people, in matters such as citizenship...

 (the "Bossi-Fini" law, from the names of the Lega Nord and National Alliance
National Alliance (Italy)
National Alliance was a conservative political party in Italy.Gianfranco Fini was the leader of the party since its foundation in 1995, however he stepped down in 2008 after being elected to the nominally non-partisan post of President of the Italian Chamber of Deputies and was succeeded by...

 leaders, as first authors of the text) is seeking the cooperation of European and other Mediterranean countries in reducing the large number of immigrants trying to reach Italian coasts on old and overloaded ferries and fishing boats, risking (and, often, losing) their lives.

On 8 November 2011, after losing his majority and public support, Berlusconi announced he would resign once parliament passed economic reforms. Many believed that the problems and doubts over Berlusconi's leadership and his coalition were one of the factors that contributed to market anxieties over an imminent Italian financial disaster, which could have a potentially catastrophic effect on the 17-nation eurozone and the world economy. On 12 November 2011, after a final meeting with his cabinet, Berlusconi met Italian president Giorgio Napolitano
Giorgio Napolitano
Giorgio Napolitano is an Italian politician who has been the 11th President of Italy since 2006. A long-time member of the Italian Communist Party and later the Democrats of the Left, he served as President of the Chamber of Deputies from 1992 to 1994 and as Minister of the Interior from 1996 to...

 at the Palazzo del Quirinale to tend his resignation. Following Berlusconi's resignation, Mario Monti
Mario Monti
Mario Monti is an Italian economist and academic who is Prime Minister of Italy, as well as Minister of Economy and Finance, since November 2011. Monti served as a European Commissioner from 1995 to 2004, with responsibility for the Internal Market, Services, Customs and Taxation from 1995 to 1999...

 formed a new government that would remain in office until the next scheduled elections in 2013. On 16 November, Monti announced that he had formed a Cabinet and was officially sworn in as Prime Minister of Italy, also appointing himself as Minister of Economy and Finance.

Allegations


Silvio Berlusconi has an extensive record of criminal allegations, including mafia
Mafia
The Mafia is a criminal syndicate that emerged in the mid-nineteenth century in Sicily, Italy. It is a loose association of criminal groups that share a common organizational structure and code of conduct, and whose common enterprise is protection racketeering...

 collusion, false accounting, tax fraud
Fraud
In criminal law, a fraud is an intentional deception made for personal gain or to damage another individual; the related adjective is fraudulent. The specific legal definition varies by legal jurisdiction. Fraud is a crime, and also a civil law violation...

, corruption and bribery of police officers and judges.
Berlusconi has been tried in Italian courts in several cases. In three of these cases accusations were dropped by the judiciary because of laws passed by Berlusconi's parliamentary majority shortening the time limit for prosecution of various offences and making false accounting illegal only if there is a specific damaged party reporting the fact to the authorities. In all of them, but one, either he was acquitted by a court of first instance or on appeal, or charges were dropped because the statute of limitations
Statute of limitations
A statute of limitations is an enactment in a common law legal system that sets the maximum time after an event that legal proceedings based on that event may be initiated...

 had expired. Therefore he has not been sentenced up to now, despite having been found guilty of providing false testimony in 1990. Berlusconi claimed that "this is a manifest judicial persecution, against which I am proud to resist, and the fact that my resistance and sacrifice will give the Italians a more fair and efficient judicial system makes me even more proud", and added that "789 prosecutors and magistrates took an interest in the politician Berlusconi from 1994 to 2006 with the aim of subverting the votes of the Italian people" citing statistics that he said have constituted a "calvary including 577 visits by police, 2,500 court hearings and 174 million euros in lawyers' bills paid by me". Berlusconi has always been able to afford top lawyers, for example Nicolas Sarkozy
Nicolas Sarkozy
Nicolas Sarkozy is the 23rd and current President of the French Republic and ex officio Co-Prince of Andorra. He assumed the office on 16 May 2007 after defeating the Socialist Party candidate Ségolène Royal 10 days earlier....

 was one of his French top advocates. Some of his former prosecutors later joined the parliamentary opposition. Some of his attorneys are also members of parliament.

False testimony



In 1981, a scandal arose after the police discovery of Licio Gelli
Licio Gelli
Licio Gelli is an Italian financier, chiefly known for his role in the Banco Ambrosiano scandal. He was revealed in 1981 as being the Venerable Master of the clandestine Masonic lodge Propaganda Due...

's secret quasi-Masonic lodge Propaganda 2
Propaganda Due
Propaganda Due , or P2, was a Masonic lodge operating under the jurisdiction of the Grand Orient of Italy from 1945 to 1976 , and a pseudo-Masonic or "black" or "covert" lodge operating illegally from 1976 to...

 (P2), which aimed to change the Italian political system to a more authoritarian regime. The list of people involved in P2 included members of the secret services and some prominent characters from political arena, business, military and media. Silvio Berlusconi, who was then just starting to gain popularity as the founder and owner of "Canale 5" TV channel, was listed as a member of P2. The P2 lodge was dissolved by the Italian Parliament in December 1981 and a law was passed declaring similar organisations illegal, but no specific crimes were alleged against individual members of the P2 lodge. While the Italian Constitution had forbidden secret associations since 1948, no penal law provision had ever been passed by Parliament to enact that, and in the Italian legal system an action cannot be a crime if no law declaring that action a crime was in force when the action was committed. Thus, members of the P2 were members of anti-Constitutional and yet not illegal per se association.

Berlusconi later (in 1989) sued three journalists for libel for writing articles hinting at his involvement in financial crimes. In court, he declared that he had joined the P2 lodge "only for a very short time before the scandal broke" and "he had not even paid the entry fee". Such statements conflicted with the findings of the parliamentary inquiry commission appointed to investigate the lodge's activity, with material evidence, and even with previous testimony of Berlusconi, all of which proved that he had actually been a member of P2 since 1978 and had indeed paid 100,000 Italian liras (approximately equivalent to 300 euros today) as an entry fee.
In 1990 the court of appeal
Court of Appeals
A court of appeals is an appellate court generally.Court of Appeals may refer to:*Military Court of Appeals *Corte d'Assise d'Appello *Philippine Court of Appeals*High Court of Appeals of Turkey*United States courts of appeals...

 of Venice found Berlusconi guilty of false testimony in front of the Court of Verona, however the court could not pass sentence as the offense had been pardoned by an amnesty
Amnesty
Amnesty is a legislative or executive act by which a state restores those who may have been guilty of an offense against it to the positions of innocent people, without changing the laws defining the offense. It includes more than pardon, in as much as it obliterates all legal remembrance of the...

 passed in 1989.

Some political commentators claim that Berlusconi's electoral programme followed the P2 plan.

Jowell controversy/David Mills bribery case



David Mills
David Mills (lawyer)
David Mackenzie Mills is a British corporate lawyer who specialises in international work for Italian companies. He was accused of money-laundering and alleged tax fraud, involving Silvio Berlusconi, he was convicted in first instance and in appeal, but the conviction was quashed by the Supreme...

, lawyer husband of the former British cabinet minister Tessa Jowell
Tessa Jowell
Tessa Jowell is a British Labour Party politician, who has been the Member of Parliament for Dulwich and West Norwood since 1992. Formerly a member of both the Blair and Brown Cabinets, she is currently the Shadow Minister for the Olympics and Shadow Minister for London.-Early life:Tessa Jane...

, acted for Berlusconi in the early 1990s, and was later accused by Italian prosecutors of money laundering
Money laundering
Money laundering is the process of disguising illegal sources of money so that it looks like it came from legal sources. The methods by which money may be laundered are varied and can range in sophistication. Many regulatory and governmental authorities quote estimates each year for the amount...

 and of accepting a gift from Berlusconi in return for witness evidence favourable to Berlusconi given in court. Mills claimed that the money in question came not from Berlusconi but from another client. Tessa Jowell then announced her separation from Mills, which some of the UK media
Media of the United Kingdom
Media of the United Kingdom consist of several different types of communications media: television, radio, newspapers, magazines, and Internet-based Web sites. The UK also has a strong music industry. The UK has a diverse range of providers, the most prominent being principle public service...

 suggested was an attempt to distance herself from a potential scandal. She also denied having discussed the money with her husband; Private Eye
Private Eye
Private Eye is a fortnightly British satirical and current affairs magazine, edited by Ian Hislop.Since its first publication in 1961, Private Eye has been a prominent critic and lampooner of public figures and entities that it deemed guilty of any of the sins of incompetence, inefficiency,...

magazine published a satirical front cover of Jowell with a speech bubble stating: "I have never met my husband". In December 2010, information obtained by the Wikileaks website revealed Mr Berlusconi had become very fond of Ms Jowell, referring to her in private company as 'piccolo puntaspilli' (the little pincushion).

On 17 February 2009, Mills was found guilty of accepting a bribe of about 400,000 pounds sterling
Pound sterling
The pound sterling , commonly called the pound, is the official currency of the United Kingdom, its Crown Dependencies and the British Overseas Territories of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, British Antarctic Territory and Tristan da Cunha. It is subdivided into 100 pence...

, allegedly from Silvio Berlusconi, and was sentenced to four-and-a-half years in prison. On 25 February 2010, the Court of Cassation
Court of Cassation (Italy)
The Supreme Court of Cassation is the major court of last resort in Italy. It has its seat in the Rome Hall of Justice.The Court of Cassation exists also to “ensure the observation and the correct interpretation of law” by ensuring the same application of law in the inferior and appeal courts...

 gave a verdict of not guilty because the statute of limitations
Statute of limitations
A statute of limitations is an enactment in a common law legal system that sets the maximum time after an event that legal proceedings based on that event may be initiated...

 expired. The supreme court judges ruled that he received the money in 1999, and not 2000 as prosecutors had previously argued. He was ordered to pay €250,000 compensation to the office of the Italian prime minister for "damaging its reputation".

Personal fortune


In 2010, Forbes
Forbes
Forbes is an American publishing and media company. Its flagship publication, the Forbes magazine, is published biweekly. Its primary competitors in the national business magazine category are Fortune, which is also published biweekly, and Business Week...

 magazine reported that Berlusconi was Italy's third richest man with a net worth of $9 billion. He holds significant assets in television, newspapers, publishing, cinema, finance, banking, insurance, and sport. Berlusconi's main company, Mediaset
Mediaset
Mediaset S.p.A., known as Gruppo Mediaset in Italian, is an Italian-based media company which is the largest commercial broadcaster in the country...

, comprises three national television channels covering half of the national television sector; and Publitalia, the leading Italian advertising and publicity agency. Berlusconi also owns a controlling stake in Arnoldo Mondadori Editore
Arnoldo Mondadori Editore
Arnoldo Mondadori Editore is the biggest publishing company in Italy.-History:Founded by the 18-year-old Arnoldo Mondadori in 1907 to publish the magazine titled Luce!, it soon became an important publisher. Its headquarters are in Milan....

, the largest Italian publishing house, whose publications include Panorama
Panorama (Italian magazine)
Panorama is a right-wing Italian-language news magazine.-Ownership:The magazine is published by Arnoldo Mondadori Editore, the largest Italian publishing house...

, one of the country's most popular news magazines. His brother, Paolo Berlusconi
Paolo Berlusconi
Paolo Berlusconi is the younger brother of Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi. He is editor of the newspaper Il Giornale and the head of the investment group Paolo Berlusconi Finanzaria...

, owns and operates il Giornale
Il Giornale
il Giornale is an Italian daily newspaper published in Milan, Italy.-History:The newspaper was planned in 1972 by the journalist Indro Montanelli, together with the colleague Enzo Bettiza, after some disagreements with the new pro-left editorial line adopted by the newspaper Corriere della Sera,...

, a centre-right wing newspaper which provides a pro-Berlusconi slant on Italian politics. Il Foglio
Il Foglio
Il Foglio is a Italian centre-right daily newspaper, with circulation of about 13,000 copies per day. It was founded in 1996 by the Italian journalist and politician Giuliano Ferrara, after he left as editor of the magazine Panorama- Characteristics :...

, one of the most influential Italian right-wing newspapers, is partially owned by his wife, Veronica Lario
Veronica Lario
Veronica Lario is a former Italian actress, ex wife of former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, although she has filed for legal separation, which is the first step towards divorce in Italian law.-Biography:Born in Bologna, Lario was an actress in low budget films...

. After Lario sold some of her ownership in 2010, Paolo Berlusconi acquired a majority interest in the newspaper. Berlusconi is also the founder and major shareholder
Shareholder
A shareholder or stockholder is an individual or institution that legally owns one or more shares of stock in a public or private corporation. Shareholders own the stock, but not the corporation itself ....

 of Fininvest
Fininvest
Fininvest is a financial holding company controlled by Silvio Berlusconi's family and managed by Silvio Berlusconi's eldest daughter Marina Berlusconi.-Structure:...

, which is among the largest private companies in Italy and operates in media and finance. With Ennio Doris
Ennio Doris
Ennio Doris , businessman, founder and chief executive of Mediolanum SpA a large Italian funds management and insurance company.Born in Tombolo, a small village near Padova, Italy on 3 July 1940, Mr. Doris entered the retail asset management field in 1969 when he became a salesman for Fideuram. In...

 he founded Mediolanum
Mediolanum (company)
Mediolanum S.p.A. is an Italian financial services company based in Basiglio near Milan, founded by Ennio Doris in 1982. Doris remains the chief executive officer and largest shareholder with around 40% of the company today. The second-largest shareholder with over 36% is Berlusconi's Fininvest...

, one of the country's biggest banking and insurance groups. He has interests in cinema and home video distribution (Medusa Film and Penta Film). He is also the owner of the football club A.C. Milan
A.C. Milan
Associazione Calcio Milan, commonly referred to as A.C. Milan or simply Milan , is a professional Italian football club based in Milan, Lombardy, that plays in the Serie A. Milan was founded in 1899 by English lace-maker Herbert Kilpin and businessman Alfred Edwards among others...

 which along with Boca Juniors
Boca Juniors
Club Atlético Boca Juniors is an Argentine sports club based in La Boca neighborhood of Buenos Aires. It is best known for its professional football team, which currently plays in the Primera División....

 has won the most FIFA recognized international club titles in the world.

See also

  • Controversies surrounding Silvio Berlusconi
    Controversies surrounding Silvio Berlusconi
    Silvio Berlusconi is an Italian media mogul and former Prime Minister of Italy, owning the largest broadcasting company in the country, Mediaset, his promises to sell-off his personal assets, to avoid conflicts of interest, were unfulfilled, this sparked controversy throughout his terms in office...

  • Forbes list of billionaires (2011)

Documentaries

  • "Citizen Berlusconi – The Prime Minister and the Press", 2003
  • Viva Zapatero!
    Viva Zapatero!
    Viva Zapatero! is a 2005 documentary by Sabina Guzzanti telling her side of the story regarding the conflict with Silvio Berlusconi over a late-night TV political satire show broadcast on RAI-3....

    , directed by Sabina Guzzanti, 2005
  • "Quando c'era Silvio", documentary film directed by Beppe Cremagnani e Enrico Deaglio, 2005.

Feature films

  • Draquila - L'Italia che trema (directed by Sabina Guzzanti, Cannes Film Festival
    Cannes Film Festival
    The Cannes International Film Festival , is an annual film festival held in Cannes, France, which previews new films of all genres including documentaries from around the world. Founded in 1946, it is among the world's most prestigious and publicized film festivals...

    , 2010)
  • Videocracy
    Videocracy (film)
    Videocracy is a 2009 documentary film directed by Swedish-Italian Erik Gandini about Italian television and its impact on Italian culture and politics, and about Silvio Berlusconi's powerful position in these....

    (directed by Erik Gandini
    Erik Gandini
    Erik Gandini is an Italian- Swedish film director, producer and writer.He has made several films including: Amerasians, Sacrificio: Who Betrayed Che Guevara?, Surplus: Terrorized into Being Consumers, Gitmo and Videocracy.Videocracy has gone on to win awards at Toronto Film Festival, Sheffield...

    , 2009)
  • "Bye Bye Berlusconi!/Buonanotte Topolino"
  • Il Caimano
    Il caimano (film)
    The Caiman is a 2006 Italian comedy-drama film directed by Nanni Moretti and starring Silvio Orlando and Margherita Buy. Focusing on Silvio Berlusconi's vicissitudes, it was released just before the beginning of the 2006 elections, in which Berlusconi lost. It was one of the most successful films...

    (directed by Nanni Moretti
    Nanni Moretti
    Giovanni "Nanni" Moretti is an Italian film director, producer, screenwriter and actor.-Life and work:Moretti was born in Bruneck, South Tyrol , in 1953 to parents who were teachers...

    , 2006)
  • Shooting Silvio (directed by Berardo Carboni)
  • Citizen Berlusconi (directed by Andrea Cairola and Susan Gray)

Further reading


Geschäfte mit dem Vatikan. Die Affäre Sindona. München 1987. ISBN 3-426-03970-2
  • Amedeo Benedetti, Il linguaggio e la retorica della nuova politica italiana: Silvio Berlusconi e Forza Italia, Erga, Genova, 2004, ISBN 88-8163-363-9
  • L'odore dei soldi. Origini e misteri delle fortune di Silvio Berlusconi (Elio Veltri and Marco Travaglio
    Marco Travaglio
    Marco Travaglio is an Italian investigative journalist, writer and commentator.-Biography:Travaglio was born in Turin. He started his career writing for Catholic publications such as Il nostro tempo , then worked for the renowned journalist Indro Montanelli for newspapers such as Il Giornale and...

    , 2001, Editori Riuniti, ISBN 88-359-5007-4). Journalist Marco Travaglio interviewed by Daniele Luttazzi
    Daniele Luttazzi
    Daniele Luttazzi , real name Daniele Fabbri, is an Italian theater actor, writer, satirist, illustrator and singer/songwriter. His stage name is a homage to musician and actor Lelio Luttazzi...

     in his show Satyricon Berlusconi bankruptcy risks and legal investigation before entering politics: Mani pulite. La vera storia. Da Mario Chiesa a Silvio Berlusconi (Gianni Barbacetto, Peter Gomez and Marco Travaglio
    Marco Travaglio
    Marco Travaglio is an Italian investigative journalist, writer and commentator.-Biography:Travaglio was born in Turin. He started his career writing for Catholic publications such as Il nostro tempo , then worked for the renowned journalist Indro Montanelli for newspapers such as Il Giornale and...

    , 2002, Editori Riuniti, ISBN 88-359-5241-7) L'amico degli amici. (Marco Travaglio and Peter Gomez, 2005, RCS MediaGroup, ISBN 88-17-00707-2) Gustau Navarro i Barba Bagasses, lladres i ministres al país de Berlusconi Edicions dels A.L.I.LL, Mataró, 2009. ISBN 978-84-613-6192-2
  • "The Thing Berluscony, by Nobel Prize Winner José Saramago, El País, 7 June 2009, Retrieved 7 June 2009
  • "Italy immunity law provokes fury", BBC news, 25 June 2003, Retrieved 24 December 2004
  • "Italy's left attacks Berlusconi", BBC news, 11 December 2004, Retrieved 22 January 2005
  • "Berlusconi plans to get off the hook", The Observer, 7 October 2001, Retrieved 1 February 2005
  • "Italian Senate passes disputed bill", BBC News, 2 August 2002, Retrieved 1 February 2005
  • "Berlusconi scores double victory", BBC News, 5 November 2002, Retrieved 1 February 2005
  • "Berlusconi ally jailed for bribery", BBC News, 29 April 2003, Retrieved 1 February 2005
  • "Berlusconi ally partially cleared", BBC News, 22 November 2003, Retrieved 1 February 2005
  • "Berlusconi warns 'subversive' judges", BBC News, 8 August 2003, Retrieved 1 February 2005
  • "Berlusconi stuns Italian judges", BBC News, 5 September 2003, Retrieved 1 February 2005
  • "Italian judges fight reforms", BBC News, 20 June 2002, Retrieved 1 February 2005
  • "Italian magistrates go on strike", BBC News, 25 May 2004, Retrieved 1 February 2005
  • "Italian president blocks reforms", BBC News, 16 December 2004, Retrieved 1 February 2005
  • Q&A: "Berlusconi's battle with the courts", BBC News, 24 January 2002, Retrieved 1 February 2005
  • "New storm over Berlusconi remarks", BBC News, 11 September 2003, Retrieved 2 February 2005
  • "Jewish communities split over Berlusconi", BBC News, 26 September 2003, Retrieved 2 February 2005
  • New York Times journalist Nick Tosches
    Nick Tosches
    Nick Tosches is an American journalist, novelist, biographer, and poet of Albanian and Italian descent.- Life :After different odd-jobs, Tosches started writing with poetry and rock-'n'-roll magazines, including Creem, Fusion, and Rolling Stone.Tosches' second book, a biography of Jerry Lee Lewis...

     interviews with Michele Sindona
    Michele Sindona
    Michele Sindona was an Italian banker and convicted felon. Known in banking circles as "The Shark", Sindona was a member of Propaganda Due , a secret lodge of Italian Freemasonry, and had clear connections to the Mafia...

    , while imprisoned in the United States: Power On Earth, 1986, Arbor House
    Arbor House
    Arbor House was an independent publishing house founded by Donald Fine in 1969. Specialising in hard cover publications, Arbor House published works by Hortense Calisher, Ken Follett, Cynthia Freeman, Elmore Leonard and Irwin Shaw before being acquired by the Hearst Corporation in 1979 to move into...

     Pub Co, USA, ISBN 0-87795-796-7
  • Alexander Stille
    Alexander Stille
    Alexander Stille is an American author and journalist. He is the son of Ugo Stille, a well-known Italian journalist and a former editor of Italy's Milan-based Corriere della Sera newspaper. Alexander Stille graduated from Yale and later the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism...

    , "Girls! Girls! Girls! The P.M.'s sex follies" The New Yorker
    The New Yorker
    The New Yorker is an American magazine of reportage, commentary, criticism, essays, fiction, satire, cartoons and poetry published by Condé Nast...

    84/35, 3 November 2008 : 70–76
  • Gert Sørensen, Berlusconi og den moderne fyrste – Om demokratiets tilstand i et land i Europa, Museum Tusculanums Forlag, 2008. ISBN 978-87-635-0690-8.


External links



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