ROME, Italy (AP) — Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi has advised young women to follow the money when looking for a partner, saying women like him and “I’m loaded”.
The billionaire businessman appeared at a convention recently of the youth wing of his People of Freedom party. When questioned by one of his Cabinet ministers — a woman — he joked about marriages of convenience, saying women were lining up for him because “I’m a nice guy” and “I’m loaded”.
He also recalled a much-criticised TV interview he once gave, when “I said to a girl to look for a wealthy boyfriend. This suggestion is not unrealistic”.
He also claimed women favor older men, thinking that “he’s old. He dies and I inherit”.
The 73-year-old Berlusconi was engulfed in a sex scandal last year centring on his purported dalliances with young women, including an escort. Berlusconi’s wife Veronica Lario said last year she was seeking a divorce. They are now separated.
The media baron has said he is “no saint” but denied ever paying for sex.
In Italy, a divorce can only be sought after three years of separation. Media reports this summer suggested that Berlusconi’s wife has rejected his early proposals for a financial settlement.
Berlusconi often gets criticised for his earthy sense of humour.