Berlusconi: Topless photos 'innocent'

 Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said on Friday photos in a Spanish newspaper of topless women sunbathing at his seaside villa were an invasion of privacy and his lawyer said he would take legal action.
Berlusconi’s private life, including an investigation into his use of state planes to ferry guests to his luxury villa on the Mediterranean island of Sardinia, has become an explosive issue ahead of European elections. In an article titled ‘The pictures vetoed by Berlusconi’, Spain’s El Pais published five photos, including two showing the premier walking within the villa grounds accompanied by women whose faces are blurred, and one of women sunbathing topless.
Berlusconi’s lawyer Niccolo Ghedini said he was filing a legal complaint against the newspaper. “These pictures were seized in Italy because it was reckoned that they were derived from illegal behaviour,” Ghedini said in a statement. “Anybody buying them anywhere in the world commits a crime.”
El Pais wrote in an editorial: “The publication of the photos of his private parties is not an attempt to judge his morality as a citizen, but to demonstrate that as prime minister he is trying to transform the democratic arena into a simple extension of his friendships and entertainments.
“An Italy sliding down the slope which Berlusconi is dragging it down is not only a source of concern for Italians, but for all Europeans.”
Another photo in the newspaper, which last week attacked Berlusconi as bent on using his power to give himself legal immunity, shows a naked man by the poolside.
“Do you take a shower in a jacket and tie,” Berlusconi asked a radio interviewer when quizzed about the photos.
The photos were taken by photographer Antonello Zappadu, whose pictures an Italian prosecutor has allowed Berlusconi to seize on privacy grounds because they were taken without permission from outside the villa using a powerful lens.
“These are innocent photos, there’s no scandal but this is a violation of privacy and a scandalous aggression,” Berlusconi told local radio.

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