The prostitute at the center of the Silvio Berlusconi sex tape scandal underscored the topsy-turvy nature of Italian politics yesterday when she threatened to sue the country’s Foreign Minister for impugning her reputation as opposition MPs unleashed a scathing attack on their Prime Minister for potentially compromising national security.

Patrizia D’Addario robustly defended her lurid recordings of alleged encounters with Berlusconi after Franco Frattini, a rising star of Mr Berlusconi’s administration, accused her of taking money to make false accusations.

Ms D’Addario, 42, raised the prospect of a court battle between call girl and Foreign Minister over Mr Berlusconi's battered image the day after the left-leaning L’Espresso Group released new audio tapes and transcripts purportedly recording intimate details of a sexual encounter between her and the Prime Minister.

In a statement released to the media, Ms D’Addario strongly denied Mr Frattini’s claims, which he made in a BBC interview on Thursday, as well as media suggestions that she had given the tapes to “selected journalists” herself.

“In the past few days slanderous public statements and journalists’ interpretations have been published about me. I will respond to every single one of them through legal action,” Ms D’Addario said in the statement released by Maria Pia Vigilante, her lawyer.

“Foreign Affairs Minister Franco Frattini said that some escorts have been been paid by journalists to ‘direct false accusations against Silvio Berlusconi’,” the statement continued. “If he is referring to me as well, I want to strongly deny that fact and ask the Foreign Minister to prove his statements, or if he has no proof, to stop making statements.”

Six senior centre-left Democractic Party leaders, including Italian and European MPs and Sergio Cofferati, the Mayor of Bologna, yesterday published an open letter on the website of the newspaper La Repubblica condemning Mr Berlusconi’s recent “bad behaviour” and even questioning whether he had breached the Italian Constitution.

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