ROME – Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi insisted Monday he only throws elegant, dignified soirees at his villas and not wild parties as reportedly described by a Rome-based U.S. diplomat in a cable contained in the Wikileaks trove.
Berlusconi said he didn't care to read what such diplomats had to report, saying "I don't look at what third-rate or fourth-rate officials say."
Berlusconi has been accused of entertaining escorts and underage girls at his villas — allegations that have fueled a political crisis that has brought the government to a no-confidence vote in two weeks.
According to the cable, reported by The Guardian newspaper, Berlusconi's "frequent late nights and penchant for partying hard mean he does not get sufficient rest."
On Monday, Berlusconi shrugged off the commentary with a laugh.
"I unfortunately have never in my life been to a wild party," he said. "Maybe they're interesting. I've never been."
He said once a month he hosts dinner parties at his homes because so many people want to see him. "At these dinners, everything that occurs is proper, elegant and dignified." Otherwise, guests wouldn't be allowed to take pictures, he added.
Several beautiful young women have come forward over the past year detailing the dinner parties they attended at Berlusconi's villas in Rome, Milan and Sardinia and the gifts the premier allegedly gave them.
The most recent, Nadia Macri, a 28-year-old self-described escort, has said Berlusconi paid her ?10,000 ($13,000) — delivered in an envelope — for sexual favors after she was introduced to the premier by a television executive.
Berlusconi's lawyer, Niccolo Ghedini has said there was no basis of truth in Macri's claims and said they had been disproved.
Associated Press writer Alessandra Rizzo contributed to this report.