Callgirls ‘were paid to sleep with Silvio Berlusconi’

Barbara Guerra

Businessman Gianpaolo Tarantini has alleged that 30 young women were paid to attend parties at Berlusconi’s homes

BY Danielle Dsane LAST UPDATED AT 17:22 ON Thu 10 Sep 2009

Gianpaolo Tarantini, the businessman who is being investigated for his role in procuring callgirls for Silvio Berlusconi, has alleged that 30 young women were paid to attend dinner parties with the Italian prime minister, and that five of them were paid for sexual services.

This contradicts Berlusconi's insistence that whoever he may have slept with, he never paid. "I have never paid a woman," he said earlier this summer. "I never understood what the satisfaction is when you are missing the pleasure of conquest".

But according to accounts leaked by prosecutors to Corriere della Sera, Tarantini said that girls from Italy and Eastern Europe were put up in hotels and driven to Berlusconi's palatial residences in cars with tinted windows. They attended 18 parties at Berlusconi's Palazzo Grazioli in Rome and Villa Certosa in Sardinia between September 2008 and January 2009.

At these soirees, they were treated to gifts of jewels and glasses of champagne, and, according to Tarantini, some of them were paid €1,000 to sleep with the 72-year-old Prime Minister.

Of one of the girls, Vanessa Di Meglio, Tarantini said, "Normally she is not a callgirl but if need be she was not averse to being paid for sexual favours... I arranged for Di Meglio to offer sexual services to the prime minister on two occasions in Rome, September 5 and October 8, 2008. I remember that on September 5 she stayed the night at Palazzo Grazioli [the PM's residence]."

He also alleged that Berlusconi had intimate encounters with Maria Teresa De Nicolo, a 37-year-old interior decorator from Bari, escort girl Ioana Visan and showgirl Barbara Guerra (above).

Tarantini said he thought that "girls and cocaine would be the keys to achieving success in society". He went on: "I wanted to get to know the prime Minister and to that end I paid out a lot of money to enter into his trust, and knowing of his interest in women I did nothing more than introduce to him girls who I presented as my friends."

Tarantini, whose businesses include public relations, cleaning services and hospital supplies, said that he had hoped Berlusconi would be able to repay him for these introductions by helping to secure a contract with the Civil Protection agency, which is in charge of Italy's emergency services.

Berlusconi did introduce him to the head of the agency, and an executive with defence company Finmeccanica, but these meetings came to nothing. · 

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