• 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

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that his friend, Italy's convicted former premier Silvio Berlusconi, would not have gone on trial for sex with a minor if he was gay.

"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.

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Italian man crushed to death by giant crucifix
The cross (not pictured) was designed by sculptor Enrico Job and was created for John Paul II's visit to Brescia. Crucifix photo: Shutterstock

Italian man crushed to death by giant crucifix

An Italian man was crushed to death on Wednesday by a giant crucifix honouring John Paul II that collapsed during a ceremony ahead of the late pope's canonization. READ () »

Rome hotels break rules ahead of sainthoods
Rome hotels have been fined for overcrowding rooms in the run-up to the canonization. Photo: HannahWebb/Flickr

Rome hotels break rules ahead of sainthoods

Police have handed out €100,000 worth of fines to 21 hotels in Rome after they employed tactics to take advantage of the hundreds of thousands of pilgrims set to flock to the capital for the double canonization on Sunday. READ () »

Italian factory shutdown threatens 4,000 jobs
A blast furnace at the Lucchini plant in Piombino was shut down on Thursda. Photo: Matteo Bagnoli/Flickr

Italian factory shutdown threatens 4,000 jobs

A blast furnace at an Italian steel plant was shut down on Thursday with 4,000 jobs at risk despite a call by Pope Francis for officials "to make every effort in terms of creativity and generosity to rekindle hope". READ () »

Italy plans global network to fight mafia
Interior Minister Angelino Alfano said he "would not make a truce with the most dangerous organized crime groups." Photo: Vincenzo Pinto/AFP

Italy plans global network to fight mafia

The Italian government has announced plans to open offices around the world to coordinate the fight against the mafia, in addition to upping efforts to tackle organized crime at home. READ () »

Pope in trouble over 'personal' phone calls
The Vatican has had enough of Pope Francis cold-calling people. Photo: Fillipo Monteforte/AFP

Pope in trouble over 'personal' phone calls

Pope Francis's habit of picking up the phone and cold calling people who write to him is landing the Vatican in hot water and spokesman Federico Lombardi has had enough. READ () »

'French' family robs plush jewellery shop
Jewellery photo: Shutterstock

'French' family robs plush jewellery shop

A family pretending to be French and giving off an air of sophistication managed to steal €180,000 worth of jewellery from a plush shop in Milan’s Piazza del Duomo. READ () »

Italian waiter was killed in 'senseless attack'
Joele Leotta was murdered six days after arriving in the UK. Photo: Facebook

Italian waiter was killed in 'senseless attack'

An Italian man who was beaten to death in the UK last year had left Italy to start a job as a waiter just days before he was killed, in what proscecutors described as a "senseless attack of brutal, drunken violence". READ () »

Woman had abortion and hid foetus
The woman reportedly separated from her husband during the pregnancy. Pregnancy test photo: Shutterstock

Woman had abortion and hid foetus

A 20-year-old woman has been arrested in central Italy for infanticide, after reportedly having an abortion when she was between seven and eight months pregnant. READ () »

Mayor wants museum to remember Mussolini
Benito Mussolini was born in Predappio. Benito Mussolini photo: Shutterstock

Mayor wants museum to remember Mussolini

The mayor of Predappio, the birthplace of Benito Mussolini in central Italy, has called for a museum to open to remember the fascist leader and his role in Italian history. READ () »

Perugia shortlisted for European Youth Capital
Perugia has been shortlisted for European Youth Capital 2017. Photo: Christopher John SSF/Flickr

Perugia shortlisted for European Youth Capital

The medieval Umbrian capital of Perugia has been shortlisted for the title of European Youth Capital 2017. READ () »

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
Top ten English words adopted by Italians
National
Singing nun strikes again with 80s classic
Health
Italy embryo mix-up: real parents identified
National
Italian priest hits boy on scooter and flees
National
Outcry as Italy auctions off 'haunted island'
Culture
Rome street artist paints New York
Gallery
10 words you didn't know came from Italy
International
'The mafia has infiltrated every sector in Germany'
Features
'I want everyone to care about Italian history'
Italian Of The Week
The island carpenter with the Pope's blessing
National
Top 10: dream jobs in Italy for expats
National
Becoming a saint in five not-so-easy steps
Advertisement:
Health
Italian woman dies after taking abortion drug
Culture
Italy's looted treasures found in Rome 'museum'
Opinion
Why Italy might not exist in five years
Italian Of The Week
The world's fastest man on skis
National
Sheikh seeks woman in Italy for shopping blitz
National
British royals give Pope whisky and eggs
National
Top 10: Quirky Italian royalty facts
National
How to park like an Italian
National
Unique stucco homes up for grabs down south
Politics
Italy sells officials' luxury cars on eBay
National
VIDEO: American football team goes gay for a day
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 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

421
jobs available