Both George Clooney and Sivilio Berlusconi have an Italian love affair -- one with the country, the other with its women. Strangely, it's the Italian Prime Minister and not the Hollywood actor who can't control himself around the belle donne.
Clooney, who has long denied ever attending one of Berlusconi's infamous bunga bunga parties, revealed for the first time that he was invited to the orgiastic festivities by the statesman.
The actor and humanitarian told Time magazine that he visited Berlusconi's house in Rome to discuss sending helicopters and aid to Sudan, but instead Berlusconi wanted to gossip and party.
“I've had one evening with Berlusconi and it was one of the more astonishing evenings of my life, Clooney said in the interview.
“I went to speak about Darfur. I'd done my homework. He took me to see his bedroom and the bed that [Vladimir] Putin gave him. It became a very different evening than anyone thought. I was like ‘I have to go’ and he was saying ‘Where are you going, there's going to be a party,’ and I was like 'No, I gotta go, I really do.’”
Clooney, who has a house at Northern Italy's Lake Como, was one of 78 people listed in March as a witness to Berlusconi hiring an underage prostitute. Clooney denied the allegation, but that did little to repair Berlusconi's reputation.
On Tuesday, three of Berlusconi's aides were indicted on prostitution charges.
Emilio Fede, Nicole Minetti and Lele Mora allegedly found and hired prostitutes for Berlusconi, including a Moroccan dancer named Karima El Mahroug -- stage name Ruby -- who was underage at the time.
Years of allegations of adultery and scandal have dogged the Prime Minister's political career, and although the government passed his party's austerity package, Italians are reluctant to further supporting the once-popular leader.
Last month, Italian police arrested businessman Giampaolo Tarantini and his wife Angela Devenuto for trying to blackmail Berlusconi with scandalous evidence of allaged misdeeds. The couple also allegedly hired prostitutes for the Prime Minister's infamous Bunga Bunga orgies, and used the information to extort money from the billionaire politician.
Berlusconi, who was not culpable in the blackmailing case, came to the defense of the couple for primarily selfish reasons, claiming that monetary payments were gifts and not used to keep anything secret.
I helped someone and a family with children who found themselves and continue to find themselves in very serious financial difficulty, Berlusconi told Italian magazine Panorama.
I didn't do anything illegal, I limited myself to helping a desperate man without asking for anything in exchange. That's how I'm made and nothing will change that.
The 74-year-old politician and billionaire media mogul is currently in the midst of his own prostitution case. Berlsuconi was first brought to court in April on prostitution charges after it was alleged that he paid for sex with Ruby, the underage Moroccan dancer, on multiple occasions. Both Berlusconi and 17-year-old El Mahroug deny that they had sexual intercourse, but after multiple delays the trial is finally set to begin in February.
Prostitution is not illegal in Italy, but paying for sex with a minor is.
The Bunga Bunga scandal began last fall when it was discovered that Berlusconi was throwing parties, during which he had relations with scores of women, many of whom were said to have been given cash and jewels. Berlusconi said the prizes were simply gifts for his friends.