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Italy's Berlusconi: '... I'm Getting Out... Leaving This [Expletive] Country'

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.
Jacopo Raule
Getty Images
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi just can't seem to get up from under controversy. Over the past few years, he's been marred by charges that he paid an underage prostitute and has also faced three other corruption trials.

The latest scandal comes in the form of a phone call recorded by police investigating claims that Berlusconi was being blackmailed about his sex life.

In the tape, Berlusconi talks to one of his alleged extortionists and vows to leave Italy, which he then describes using a scatological term that starts with an "s."

Here's how The Guardian describes the phone call:

According to the judicial arrest warrant issued on Thursday, a third person – Valter Lavitola, the editor of a small newspaper – maintained direct contact with Berlusconi and received the cash in monthly instalments from the prime minister's personal secretary.

It was in a phone conversation with Lavitola late on 13 July that Berlusconi was said by the judge to have erupted in anger. "They can say about me that I screw. It's the only thing they can say about me. Is that clear?" he said to the man allegedly blackmailing him. "They can put listening devices where they like. They can tap my telephone calls. I don't give a [expletive]. I ... In a few months, I'm getting out to mind my own [expletive] business, from somewhere else, and so I'm leaving this [expletive] country of which I'm sickened."

We looked at the original Italian version of the quote published in Italy's La Repubblica and the translation is right on.

The Telegraph reportsthat some Italians are incensed with the remarks and that Berlusconi tried to shrug it off, saying it was "one of those things you say on the telephone late at night."

The paper also recounts a spate of gaffesmade by prime minister: from jokes about homosexuals to claiming Mussolini never killed anyone.

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Eyder Peralta
Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.