> ANSA English > News

Putin arrives in Rome ahead of Russia-Italy summit

'Plans to visit Berlusconi', also pope, president

25 November, 19:04
Putin arrives in Rome ahead of Russia-Italy summit (ANSA) - Rome, November 25 - Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in Rome Monday ahead of a summit the following day in Trieste over Italian and Russian relations. Before heading north with 11 of his ministers Tuesday, Putin is scheduled to visit Italian President Giorgio Napolitano, Pope Francis, and reportedly three-time premier and old friend Silvio Berlusconi. According to Italian media, the Russian leader intends to meet the embattled ex-premier at his Rome residence of Palazzo Grazioli.

In September Putin came to Berlusconi's defence amid his appeal against a sentence for paying for sex with an underage prostitute nicknamed Ruby and abused his office to cover it up.

The Italian judiciary "wouldn't have touched him if he'd been gay", Putin told an international forum on Russia, adding that Berlusconi's legal woes, including a tax-fraud conviction banning him from office, were due to his "living with women".

Berlusconi has been embroiled in other sex scandals including one involving an escort who secretly taped him before and after having sex on a luxurious bed at his Rome residence given to him by Putin.

Earlier Monday Berlusconi said he will file a motion to reopen the tax-fraud case against him, pointing to "convincing" new testimony in his favor. The Senate is set to vote on ejecting him Thursday.