Barbara Berlusconi - Photograph: Reuters

Silvio Berlusconi back in the spotlight as daughter speaks out on scandal

Barbara Berlusconi, 26, tells Vanity Fair that allegations about her father's private life have affected his political life
John Hooper, in Rome
21.12. 2010

An embarrassing spotlight was again shone on Silvio Berlusconi's private life today – this time, by his daughter.

Just as the most recent scandal over his alleged use of prostitutes was fading from view, Barbara Berlusconi told a magazine interviewer she was so upset by what had happened she found it difficult to talk about. The 26-year-old philosophy graduate also used the interview, with the Italian edition of Vanity Fair, to launch a ferocious attack on the former topless model whom Silvio Berlusconi has brought into his cabinet.

Barbara Berlusconi said the stories about her father's private life had distressed her. "I find it difficult to reply calmly. I'd like the reader to try to put herself in my shoes," she said. "It's obvious that I am not in agreement with a certain type of conduct. But I must also believe in my father's version."

On 28 November, a former prostitute, 27-year-old Nadia Macri, said she had twice been paid for sexual services by Italy's prime minister. She said he had personally invited her to two parties at his villas that were packed with young women, some of whom appeared to be in their teens. Berlusconi subsequently said that Macri had been paid to lie about him.

His daughter, whose mother, Veronica Lario, announced last year that she was breaking up with Berlusconi, said: "I think what my father publicly calls weaknesses have had an impact [not only] on his private life, but also on his political life".

She added: "It would be unfair if all that was remembered of his extraordinary political life was this period."
Her most acid comments, however, were reserved for the equal opportunities minister, Mara Carfagna, who recently complained that she had been a victim of machismo in politics.
"The most serious thing is that Mara Carfagna can find the courage to grumble", she said. "Sometimes, one should have the decency to keep quiet."

Carfagna, a 35-year-old former showgirl, was the cause of the first split between the prime minister and Barbara Berlusconi's mother. In February 2007, Lario, his second wife, demanded and received an apology from Berlusconi after he flirted with Carfagna at the Telegatti television awards ceremony.
Barbara Berlusconi said that for someone to complain about sexual discrimination who had gone "from the Telegatti [awards] to become a minister" was "grotesque".