Italy's fed up Berlusconi swears by sex and travel
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is under fire after describing his country as "sh*tty" and vowing to leave.
Transcripts of police recordings of Berlusconi's telephone conversations, which appeared in The Guardian and Daily Mail newspapers, reveal his anger at his legal woes and being investigated by police.
On Thursday police arrested businessman Giampaolo Tarantini and his wife, who along with newspaper editor Valter Lavitola, stand accused of blackmailing Berlusconi over his controversial private life.
In a phone conversation with Lavitola, Berlusconi, 74, let rip: "They can say about me that I screw. It's the only thing they can say about me. Is that clear?
"They can put listening devices where they like. They can tap my telephone calls.
"I don't give a f*ck ... in a few months, I'm getting out to mind my own f*cking business, from somewhere else, and so I'm leaving this sh*tty country which is sickening me."
Opposition parties have condemned Berlusconi's comments, especially since the phone call was taped in July, just as Italy was trying to save itself from economic meltdown.
The Daily Mail reported that this was the same period when frantic calls were made to Berlusconi to resolve the situation and keep Italy from defaulting on its debt.
It quoted trade unionist Susanna Camusso as saying: "It's confirmation that he has worked to leave Italy a country without hope."