• Italy edition
 
'If Berlusconi was gay, nobody would touch him'
Silvio Berlusconi and Vladimir Putin are old friends. Photo: Alexei Nikolsky/AFP

'If Berlusconi was gay, nobody would touch him'

Published: 19 Sep 2013 18:21 GMT+02:00
Updated: 19 Sep 2013 18:21 GMT+02:00

"Berlusconi is on trial for living with women, but if he were a homosexual, nobody would dare touch him," Putin said during a discussion with
international experts and journalists at the Valdai Club in the northwestern Novgorod region.

The remark was met by roars of laughter from the audience.

Berlusconi, 76, is appealing a conviction for having sex with an underage prostitute nicknamed Ruby the Heart Stealer.

The Valdai forum is a discussion organised annually by Russia's state news agency RIA Novosti that invites various foreign speakers to discuss Russia.

Putin has come under fire for his anti-gay stance since he signed a controversial "gay propaganda" law in June that bans disseminating information
about homosexuality to minors.

Outrage in the West has also led to calls to boycott the Winter Olympics in Russia's Sochi resort next year.

Putin frequently defends "traditional" values and said at the Valdai club that Western countries had forgotten their Christian roots and were "denying
moral principles and traditional identities," including in "sexual" matters.

The Russian president is known to be friends with Berlusconi, who has flown in to Russia for several of Putin's birthdays and to celebrate his victory in presidential polls last year.

The former Italian prime minister has also been accused of homophobia.

"I am always working flat out and sometimes I look at beautiful women...It's better to be passionate about beautiful women than to be gay."

Berlusconi said in the midst of the sex scandal in 2010.

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Italy's new mums to get €80 'baby bonus'
The “baby bonus” measure will take effect from January 1st 2015. Baby photo: Shutterstock

Italy's new mums to get €80 'baby bonus'

Italy’s new mums will be given a "baby bonus" of €80 a month as part of premier Matteo Renzi’s plans to lift Italian families out of the economic doldrums. READ  

Gay unions debate to reach Senate by January
A couple kisses after having their foreign marriage registered by Rome Mayor Ignazio Marino. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP

Gay unions debate to reach Senate by January

Legalizing civil partnerships for gay couples will reach the Senate floor by January, following fierce debate over the handling of same-sex foreign marriages in Italy, Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said on Sunday. READ  

Mayor defies law to register 16 gay marriages
Rome's mayor, Ignazio Marino (C), poses with a gay couple after he registers their marriage on October 18, 2014 at the city hall reception room in Rome. AFP Photo/Filippo Monteforte

Mayor defies law to register 16 gay marriages

Rome's left-wing mayor Ignazio Marino on Saturday registered 16 gay marriages carried out abroad in defiance of Italian law, which does not recognise same-sex unions. READ  

Pantani was 'scared' to win 1999 Giro: Mother
Marco Pantani pictured in 2003 competing in the Tour of Italy. AFP Photo/Franck Fife

Pantani was 'scared' to win 1999 Giro: Mother

The mother of deceased Marco Pantani claims her son was 'scared' of winning the Giro d'Italia in 1999 as speculation mounts the former cycling icon may have fallen victim to malevolent forces outside the sport. READ  

Court orders homeless woman to stay in station
Trastevere station. Photo: Lalupa/Wikicommons

Court orders homeless woman to stay in station

A homeless woman in Rome who has had several run-ins with police has been ordered to spend her nights at a train station in the city, as that was the only address she could give the court. READ  

Immigrants contribute over €6bn in Italian taxes
Migrants should be seen as a resource and not a burden, the Venice-based Leone Moressa Foundation said. Photo: Marcelo Paternostro/AFP

Immigrants contribute over €6bn in Italian taxes

Immigrants in Italy paid over €6 billion in taxes last year and should be seen as a resource and not a burden, a Venice-based think-tank has said. READ  

Rome film festival
Costner and Owen in Rome for film festival
British actor Clive Owen will hold a "meet the audience" event in Rome on Saturday. Photo: Steven Lovekin/AFP

Costner and Owen in Rome for film festival

Kevin Costner and Clive Owen are among the actors in Rome for the annual film festival, which got underway on Thursday night. READ  

Isis: Italy to send 280 soldiers to Iraq
Italy's Defence Minister Roberta Pinotti said 280 soldiers would be sent to Iraq to train Kurdish forces in their battle against Isis. Photo: Armend Nimani/AFP

Isis: Italy to send 280 soldiers to Iraq

Italy will send 280 soldiers to Iraq to train Kurdish forces in their fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (Isis) jihadist group, Italy's defence minister Roberta Pinotti said. READ  

US-Italian gay couple in adoption court battle
Couple photo: Shutterstock

US-Italian gay couple in adoption court battle

An Italian woman who adopted her female partner’s daughter in the US is locked in a court battle to get the adoption recognized in Italy, where adoption by gay people is illegal. READ  

Renzi feeling 'positive' over Ukraine solution
German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks to Vladimir Putin as Matteo Renzi ahead of a meeting on Ukraine's crisis in Milan. Photo: Daniel Dal Zennaro

Renzi feeling 'positive' over Ukraine solution

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said he was "really positive" on the prospects for a solution to the Ukraine conflict after talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Petro Poroshenko. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
Where's the best place to live in Italy?
National
Amorous Italian couple get stuck in frolic at sea
Culture
Test your Italian history with The Local's quiz
Travel
Top ten: Travel warnings for Italy
International
Revealed: The cost of home comforts in Italy
Health
Nurse 'killed 38 patients for being annoying'
Culture
Breaking Balsamic: See US writer's potent parody
Opinion
Is Italy a desirable place for foreigners to work?
Culture
Top ten: Things Italian mothers say
Society
Mayors vow to defy gay marriage registration ban
Travel
How well do you know Italy's geography?
National
Ten Italian 'false friends' you need to watch out for
International
Italian student tipped to win British X-Factor
Business & Money
Italy ranked ninth most desirable place to work
Education
Why Milan uni's English switch opened minds
National
The small Sicilian town with nine centenarians
National
What Rome could teach Paris and vice versa
National
President's barber: €99k state snippers overpaid
National
Is Italy really a bad place to grow old?
Education
Pisa storms into global uni rankings
National
Unruly Italy is EU's most disobedient country
National
Italy among worst places in EU to grow old
Travel
Brit in bid to set Milan metro travel record
International
Marriage scam: 179 Italian couples claim to live in British mail box
Politics
Italy's state barbers' pay trimmed...to €99,000
Politics
eBay users snub Italy’s luxury official cars
National
Udder joy: Italian man is world's best cow-milker
Business & Money
Chinese fashion titans look to Italy for value
National
Clooney wedding 'good news for the Middle East'
National
QUIZ: Test your Italian language skills
Education
Italy top of the class for teaching English
National
Italians offered €30 a day to host a migrant
Tech
Azerbaijan beats Italy in internet stakes
Society
Marriage scrapped due to 'mummy's boy' husband
Politics
Italy separatists unfazed by Scotland's 'no'
Culture
Ten 'rude' Italian phrases you can get away with
Health
7,000 apply for two nursing jobs in Veneto
Education
Mother laments number of 'foreigners' at school
Health
One quarter of Italian teens has tried cannabis
Travel
American tourists caught with Pompeii relic
National
Seven whales stranded on Italian beach
Education
Top tips: how to learn Italian
Culture
Italy's expat tribes: What kind are you?
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

675
jobs available