Berlusconi 'wouldn't have been touched if gay' says Putin
Ex-PM's legal woes caused by his 'living with women'19 September, 17:13
Putin, a close friend of the three-time Italian premier and media magnate, told an international forum on Russia that Berlusconi's legal woes, including a tax-fraud conviction banning him from office, were due to his "living with women".
Berlusconi is appealing a sentence for paying for sex with an underage prostitute called Ruby in a case that revealed he was maintaining a stable of young women to attend alleged sex parties.
He has been involved in other sex scandals including one involving an escort who secretly taped him before and after having sex on a luxurious bed given to him by Putin.
In November 2010, amid a media frenzy about Ruby, then premier Berlusconi defended himself from allegations of impropriety in his private life by saying it was "better to like pretty women than be gay".
Rebutting claims that he abused his office to have teenage Moroccan belly dancer Ruby released after accusations of theft, on the grounds that she was, as he mistakenly thought, former Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak's niece, the premier said: "I have a gruelling work schedule and if I happen to look pretty girls in the face now and then, well then, it's better to be a fan of pretty women than to be gay".
Italian gay groups protested.