WikiLeaks: Berlusconi 'took kickbacks from Putin on energy contracts'

Posted By: Abdul Nisar
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London, Dec 3 (ANI): Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi has been accused of 'profiting handsomely' from his relationship with Russian premier Vladimir Putin, in the latest WikiLeaks scandal.

According to the documents, Berlusconi accepted a cut from lucrative energy deals between Italy and Russia. They even reveal his health is a 'complete mess' as a result of his wild partying.

The communications were written by the former U.S. ambassador Ronald Spogli and his successor in Rome, David Thorne.

In January last year, Spogli revealed that his contacts in the Italian government "believe that Berlusconi and his cronies are profiting handsomely from many of the energy deals between Italy and Russia."

The U.S. cable says, "The Georgian ambassador in Rome has told us that the government of Georgia believes Putin has promised Berlusconi a percentage of profits from any pipelines developed by Gazprom [the Russian energy giant]," reports the Daily Mail.

Reporting that the premier had fainted three times in public and been told his medical tests were 'a complete mess', Thorne wrote, "Berlusconi's frequent late nights and penchant for partying hard mean he does not get sufficient rest."

"Whenever we raise the issue of Russia and the prime minister with our contacts in ... Berlusconi's own party, they have pointed us to Valentino Valentini, a member of parliament and somewhat shadowy figure who operates as Berlusconi's key man on Russia," Spogli added.

Berlusconi replied saying, "The United States know full well that I have no interests with any countries and no personal interests and that I have only the interests of Italy and my country at heart." (ANI)

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