Berlusconi probed for misusing official plane

5th June 2009, Comments 0 comments

The case came to light days ahead of elections to the European Parliament after photographs showing well-known Italian singer Mariano Apicella, his assistant and a flamenco dancer were published.

Rome -- Italy's scandal-hit Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was Wednesday placed under investigation for allegedly misusing his official plane to fly personal guests, including a flamenco dancer.

The move was a procedural step following a complaint filed by the Codacons consumer rights group, ANSA news agency said.

The case came to light days ahead of elections to the European Parliament after photographs showing well-known Italian singer Mariano Apicella, his assistant and a flamenco dancer were published.

They were shown getting down from a government plane in May last year in Sardinia, where Berlusconi owns a mansion.

Berlusconi announced on Wednesday he was unperturbed.

"I am absolutely unfazed because we have followed all laws," he told Rai Uno public television.

"If sometimes there are a few extra people on these planes, it doesn't cost an extra dime because the plane was going to make the journey anyway: it's a question of pragmatism," he added.

The 72-year-old premier has been at the centre of a media storm pressuring him to explain his relationship with teenage Noemi Letizia, who also features in the row between him and second wife Veronica Lario, who has filed for divorce.

AFP/Expatica

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