Football

5 things you wouldn’t know about outgoing AC Milan owner Silvio Berlusconi

The sale of Serie A side AC Milan has entered its final stages of completion. Chinese business mogul Yonghong Li flew into the Italian city to complete the deal, buying the club from former owner Silvio Berlusconi. You may recognise Berlusconi as the former Prime Minister of Italy who took over Milan in 1986 and has spent over one billion pounds in developing the club. The transfer is expected to cost Li 373 million pounds and his first game as Milan President is a cracking derby against Inter. As the deal moves ahead, let’s look back at some of the controversies associated with former Milan President Silvio Berlusconi:

 

Connections with Cosa Nostra (Sicilian Mafia)

Berlusconi was accused of having connections with the Sicilian criminal association and direct contact with Salvatore Rina, head of the Sicilian Mafia back in the 80s and 90s. A Mafia informer disclosed that Berlusconi had paid Cosa Nostra over 200 million lire (between 150,000 and 200,000 of today’s Euro).

 

Ruby Rubacuori and the "bunga-bunga" parties

This was by far the biggest scandal Berlusconi was involved in. His "bunga-bunga' parties came to be known after a 17 year old Moroccan belly dancer and alleged prostitute Karima El Mahroug, also known as Ruby Rubacuori, claimed that she was paid $10,000 by Berlusconi to attend the sex parties at his private villas. The girl told prosecutors in Milan that these events were like orgies where Berlusconi and 20 young women performed an African-style ritual known as the "bunga bunga" while being nude.

 

Members of the public celebrate after Silvio Berlusconi was sentenced to seven years in prison

 

Controversial remarks on Islam

After the 9/11 attacks on the United States, he said, "We must be aware of the superiority of our civilisation, a system that has guaranteed well-being, respect for human rights and – in contrast with Islamic countries – respect for religious and political rights, a system that has as its value understanding of diversity and tolerance." A remark that caused a wild uproar in the Arab world and also Europe.

 

Freedom Army

The Freedom Army was Berlusconi’s online campaign which recruited volunteers to defend himself from the convictions of Milan’s prosecutors who were dealing with his trials. Berlusconi accused the prosecutors of being communist and anti-democratic.

 

 

Accusations of Corruption

A wiretap of a phone call between Berlusconi and the then leader of the opposition – Agostino Sacca – was released in 2007 by the magazine L'espresso, which caused a scandal in the media. In the phone call, Sacca expressed his support for Berlusconi and criticized the behaviour of his allies.

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