I'm loaded, says Silvio Berlusconi, and that's why women love me

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The italian prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, says young women should follow the money when looking for a partner, noting that women seem to like him and "I'm loaded".

Berlusconi, who was embroiled in a sex scandal last year, also raised eyebrows with a joke about Hitler's followers urging him to return to power. After resisting, Hitler says: "I'll come back, but on one condition ... next time I'm going to be evil."

The billionaire businessman was speaking at a convention on Sunday of the youth wing of his People of Freedom party. When questioned by one of his Cabinet ministers, a woman, he claimed women were lining up for him because, he said, "I'm a nice guy" and "I'm loaded". He also recalled a much-criticised TV interview he once gave: He said: "I said to a girl to look for a wealthy boyfriend. This suggestion is not unrealistic."

He also claimed women prefer older men, because they think: "He's old. He dies and I inherit."

Berlusconi, 73, was engulfed in a sex scandal last year concerning his alleged dalliances with young women, including an escort. Berlusconi's wife, Veronica Lario, said last year she was seeking a divorce. They are now separated. The media baron has said he is "no saint" but denied ever paying for sex.

In Italy, a divorce can only be sought after three years of separation. Media reports this summer suggested that Berlusconi's wife has rejected his early proposals for a financial settlement.

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