Silvio Berlusconi has reportedly been serenading the residents of the hospice for Alzheimer's patients where he is just about to complete nine months of community service.
The former Italian Prime Minister, whose four-year prison sentence for tax evasion was commuted to weekly four hour sessions at the Famiglia Hospice at Cesano Boscone, near Milan, has been turning up with a piano and singing songs including "La Vie en Rose".
A nurse told La Repubblica that before Christmas Berlusconi sang while accompanied on the piano by Fedele Confalonieri, a life-long friend with whom he used to perform with on cruise ships.
His musical turn is said to have gone down extremely well with patients, some of whom have grown rather fond of him.
Berlusconi has been spending time every Friday between 9am and 1pm at the hospice, where he has "told stories, jokes [and] organised small sketch[es]".
And it seems to have proved advantageous - last month his community service was cut by 45 days on account of good behaviour and will now terminate on 8 March.
However, the 78-year-old may still visit the hospice. Last year he hinted that he might make a major contribution to the care of Alzheimer’s sufferers.
"I think in the end I will stay a lot longer than I have to. I have a big surprise prepared," he told a radio show.
A restriction on Berlusconi’s freedom of movement will also be lifted on Sunday, which will allow him to re-engage more fully with public life. As head of the Forza Italia party he remains influential in the country’s politics.
Nevertheless, Berlusconi, who was booted from the Senate and given a two-year ban on running for elected office, won’t be able to breathe easy yet.
An appeal court last year cleared the tycoon of all charges in the so-called Rubygate case, in which he was accused of paying for sex with Karima "Ruby" el-Mahroug when she was 17 – and underage – at one of his notorious "bunga bunga" parties. Berlusconi was initially convicted of paying for sex with a minor.
However, he still faces accusations that he spent thousands of euros on 21 young women to ensure their silence over events.
Berlusconi has strongly denied influencing the testimony of the women.
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