Berlusconi's extravagance is good news for starlets

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The Independent Online

It is said the rich stay rich by never spending anything. Italy's playboy premier Silvio Berlusconi is very rich indeed. But while you might accuse him of various vices – as Milan's prosecutors are currently doing – parsimony isn't one of them.

Bank details leaked from magistrates investigating his private life – and the nature of his relationship with teenage bellydancer Karima "Ruby" El Mahroug – reveal a man who splashes out millions: €34m (£29.2m) last year, to be precise, on whatever whim takes him.

The usual billionaire's expenses of helicopter flights and maintaining luxury Caribbean estates figure on the Berlusconi bank statement. And his generosity is evident in the gifts to friends and colleagues – such as the wedding present of €40,000 he gave to one of his secretaries or the curious donation of €200,000 to the L'Aquila rugby squad. Most remarkable, however – and of interest to prosecutors – are the gifts and money he showers on young starlets who attend his infamous parties in Arcore and Sardinia. In total, the records suggest he gave €562,000 to 14 young women in 2010.

Earlier leaks from magistrates suggest that Ms El Mahroug alone has received gifts and cash from the premier worth nearly €200,000, including two Rolex watches worth €60,000 and a €12,000 diamond necklace. Mr Berlusconi is due to stand trial, charged with paying to have sex with her while she was still 17 – and then abusing his office to cover up the act. Suspected payments to Ms El Mahroug were not specified on the bank records. Of his €34m in outgoings last year, €13m have yet to be identified.

Mr Berlusconi's leaked accounts also reveal that Ruby wasn't the only young woman to have a good year, financially. TV starlet Alessandra Sorcinelli received €115,000 from the premier. Another showgirl, Angela Sozio, picked up €100,000.

Mr Berlusconi spent €900,000 in maintaining a home in Antigua.

He has a vast business empire to finance his extravagant lifestyle. Just last month it was reported that he earned €118m in 2010 in dividends.

Berlusconi's 'gifts'

€34,000,000 Berlusconi's outgoings in 2010. Investigators are yet to discover what he spent more than half of this amount on.

€562,000 The cash value of the Prime Minister's presents to 14 young women in 2010.

€900,000 The amount paid to maintain his home in Antigua.

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