Is Berlusconi flouting antiquities laws?

In case you haven’t been following the latest from the Italian premier, Silvio Berlusconi has become embroiled in yet another sex scandal, this one involving transcripts and recordings of his alleged conversations with an escort, one Patrizia D’Addario.

Among the usual disquisitions on how his astonishingly manly stamina is a family trait, the importance of the escort masturbating frequently and the many fine features of his Sardinian estate, Villa Certosa, there’s this tidbit (translation mine):

SB: Here’s another lake.
PD: With swans?
SB: Yes
PD: … with swans.
SB: Yes, but we take them out later because we want to have clean water to swim in.
SB: This is a fossilized whale.
SB: Under here were found 30 Phoenician tombs from 300 before Christ.
SB: Here, see, these here are the meteorites. These are the gifts … see these here I went to India… this is the labyrinth… What did I tell you?

Hold up, what was that bit about the Phoenician necropolis again? Because by Italian law anybody who finds ancient remains on private property has to report it and allow the state to excavate. There is no record of Berlusconi having done that.

Naturally his lawyer denies everything, and it certainly would be a highly unusual find. Phoenician tombs are rare. Finding 30 in one place, especially in an area where no evidence of a settlement has ever been found, is unheard of.

Oddly, there is a small local newspaper story from 2005 that describes that same lawyer showing functionaries from the archaeological superintendence and some art squad carabinieri antiquities found on the property, namely some pottery and traces of a small necropolis from the third century AD.

Neither the lawyer nor the Sardinian authorities claim any knowledge of this today.

So far Berlusconi has blown off the various would-be sex scandals that have proliferated since his wife filed for divorce, but this antiquities angle may turn out to be something he can’t actually duck so easily. MPs on both sides of the aisle are calling for an explanation and/or an investigation.

Not reporting archaeological finds carries a possible 12 month prison sentence. They aren’t joking around.

On a side note, a fossilized whale? Parties packed with hookers, barely legal wannabe models and naked politicians may well turn out to be the most normal things about Villa Certosa.

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3 Comments »

Comment by Blake
2009-07-25 13:07:02

Is Berlusconi immune from prosecution under the antiquities law, or was the bill he passed for himself & the government limited to certain areas of crime?

Comment by livius drusus
2009-08-03 11:45:56

I think it’s just finance/corruption charges, but I may be tripping.

 
 
Comment by Mike M
2012-05-24 12:57:53

I bet he was just trying to show off for the lady he was speaking with. The D’Adarrio lady. Making something up, just to impress. I’ve done it before. :lol:

But then again, I am an optimist. I will continue reading the blog further to see if you posted anything further on this.

 
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