16th Jul 2019

Berlusconi sues over release of naked party pics

  • Mr Berlusconi has attempted to prevent the publication of the photos released in El Pais on Friday. (Photo: www.elpais.com)

Photographs of Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi entertaining guests at his Sardinian villa were released by Spanish daily El Pais on Friday (5 June), including a number of images of scantily clad girls and one of a naked man.

Mr Berlusconi reacted to their publication saying: "I have nothing to fear. They are innocent photos, there is no scandal, but it is an unacceptable violation of privacy and a scandalous attack."

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Lawyers for Mr Berlusconi announced on Friday they were preparing to take legal action against the Spanish newspaper, which has exclusive rights to the photos after Italian media turned them down.

Earlier this week, Italian authorities seized many of the controversial pictures taken by photographer Antonello Zappadu in May 2008 and have placed Mr Zappadu under investigation.

The Sardinian photographer documented activities in the sumptuous Villa Certosa between January 2007 and January 2009, during which Mr Berlusconi held regular weekend parties for celebrities, reports El Pais.

Mystery naked man

Much of the scandal has centred on the identity of the naked man featured in one of the photos after Mr Berlusconi's lawyer Niccolo Ghedini told the daily Corriere della Sera earlier in the week: "At least one snap featured former Czech Prime Minister Topolanek naked in the villa garden."

"There were Topolanek's children as well, but one never knows what the newspapers would make of it," Mr Ghedini added.

Mr Topolanek - who was forced to step down earlier this year after losing a vote of no confidence in the Czech parliament – has denied he appears in any of the photographs.

"I rule out the existence of the snaps the Italian press refers to," he told Czech television earlier this week before El Pais published the pictures.

"I expect the Italian media to apologise to me, my family and my son," said Lucie Talmanova, deputy chairwoman of the Czech lower house and Mr Topolanek's girlfriend. The couple have one son together.

Italian press have compared Mr Berlusconi's Villa Certosa to Hugh Hefner's Playboy mansion, while the Italian premier says it is a summer residence where he can receive leaders for working meetings.

The villa includes a nuclear shelter, a Greek-Roman style amphitheatre and a remote-controlled waterfall.

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