Berlusconi: "Bribes Are Necessary - They Are Not Crimes"

Tyler Durden's picture

With a week to go until the Italian elections, things are getting a little odd to say the least. The somewhat scandal prone Berlusconi, who self-declared himself leading in the polls just recently, has come out swinging in defense of his fellow business leaders' ethical egressions. The Bunga party banner-man defends bribery, "These are not crimes," he notes, as The FT reports, "bribes are a phenomenon that exists and it’s useless to deny the existence of these necessary situations..." This apparently on the heels of the Finmeccanica CEO's Indian helicopter deal bribes and Monte Paschi's derivative debacle. It would appear his argument lies somewhere betweeen, 'if everyone's doing it - then it's ok', and 'everyone's been doing it forever so why stop now?' One Italian paper, though, disgusted at the state of their nation, describes the entire political and elite establishment of 'guilty inertia' - calling for an end to what Berlusconi appears to be saying is corrupt business-as-usual. And yet we are to trust these technocrats when they say 'crisis over', all is well, recovery is here?


Via The FT,

Former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi has defended the need for bribery in winning contracts for Italy’s multinationals, as politicians campaigning in general elections have been forced to respond to a welter of corruption scandals revolving around the nexus of politics and business.


“Bribes are a phenomenon that exists and it’s useless to deny the existence of these necessary situations when you are negotiating with third world countries and regimes,” Mr Berlusconi, leader of a centre-right coalition and seeking his fourth stint in office, said on Thursday.


Mr Berlusconi defended Giuseppe Orsi, head of the state-controlled Finmeccanica defence group who was arrested on Tuesday and accused of involvement in bribes paid to Indian government officials to secure a helicopter contract. Mr Orsi, appointed chief executive under the last centre-right government in 2011 and replaced on Wednesday, has denied the accusations.


“These are not crimes,” said Mr Berlusconi, describing payments as “commissions”. He also defended state-controlled energy group Eni, whose chief executive Paolo Scaroni is under investigation for alleged bribes paid by its Saipem subsidiary to win contracts in Algeria. Mr Scaroni denies the allegations.


Corruption scandals are dominating Italy’s election campaign, feeding a longstanding anger among voters at the close links between politics and business, with opinion polls indicating a fragmented and possibly hung parliament after the February 24-25 election.




Rival politicians predictably slammed Mr Berlusconi’s remarks, recalling he is appealing against a tax fraud conviction while painting his People of Liberty (PDL) as a party of sleaze. This week prosecutors accused Roberto Formigoni, outgoing PDL governor of Lombardy, with corruption in awarding regional health sector contracts. Raffaele Fitto, former party governor of Puglia, was sentenced to four years in prison on corruption and abuse of office charges. Both deny the accusations.




Corriere della Sera, a leading daily, slammed the entire political establishment in a front-page commentary, in particular the “guilty inertia” of Mario Monti’s technocrat government for failing to get to grips with the “cancer of derivatives” and for not intervening sooner in the case of Finmeccanica.


The riposte of Mr Monti, who is leading a centrist alliance in the elections, is that his government passed an anti-corruption law last year that would have been even tougher had the main parties collaborated.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Dewey Cheatum Howe's picture

I guess they got some dirty laundry on Bunga Bunga concerning the bank scandals.

hedgeless_horseman's picture



Bribery is an act of giving money or gift giving that alters the behavior of the recipient. Bribery constitutes a crime and is defined by Black's Law Dictionary as the offering, giving, receiving, or soliciting of any item of value to influence the actions of an official or other person in charge of a public or legal duty.


The bribe is the gift bestowed to influence the recipient's conduct. It may be any money, good, right in action, property, preferment, privilege, emolument, object of value, advantage, or merely a promise or undertaking to induce or influence the action, vote, or influence of a person in an official or public capacity.[1]



Campaign finance in the United States is the financing of electoral campaigns at the federal, state, and local levels. At the federal level, campaign finance law is enacted by Congress and enforced by the Federal Election Commission (FEC), an independent federal agency.


See the difference? 
Me neither.


"Give me control of a nation's money and I care not who makes it's laws"


— Mayer Amschel Bauer Rothschild 



"I don't care who does the electing, so long as I get to do the nominating."


- Boss Tweed

AN0NYM0US's picture



political junkets are not bribes

lobbyist dinners are not bribes

lobbyist vacations are not bribes

offering customers luxury vacations is not a bribe

offering customers golf memberships is not a bribe

offering the services of various farm animals is not a bribe


at least in the bizarro world of corpratist Ameica

Agent P's picture

That $90,000 in my freezer is not a bribe

King_of_simpletons's picture

Bribery has to be made Legal. That way it is much more controllable and taxable.

A government bureaucrat's pay structure should be :

base pay + bonus + Pension  + Bribes + medical care for life + regular pay increases even if economy is in shit + Lobby Money + IPO bonanza + E*Trade account for trading on legislation + Campaign  Finance

Whooo hooo.... ! I want your vote.

Carl Spackler's picture

Ethics Committee Chariman:  "Congressman Jefferson, this Committee recognizes that you were simply trying to prevent the money from spoiling.  This meeting is adjourned."


ParkAveFlasher's picture

"Eyhhh, bah fungol!"  - Berlusconi, Italian supermodel

TheGardener's picture

"that alters the behavior of the recipient"

Hell what edit wars must have been fought on stupidpedia
for that wording.

Get out of jail free pass for all the bad guys that had the "behavior" to start with.

And not quite an endorsement of democracy, where the voting public is lured into participating the scheme with even more bribes to the voters watching from the sidelines.

azzhatter's picture

Americans call it lobbyists. Same thing

Ghordius's picture

Lobbying is considered legal - and lobbying propaganda is considered ethical in many countries, as the "talking your book"

Urban Redneck's picture

What is a FELONY under the FCPA for US corporations to do with officials of foreign governments in order to pursue busines deals outside the US is entirely LEGAL (and often tax dedudtible) for those same US corporations to do with US government officials in order to pursue business deals inside the US... go figure

Carl Spackler's picture

Yes, it is called steering the action back toward your pockets.

Shell Game's picture

What comes around goes around, Bitchez.


When they are hung or piked, it won't be a crime either...


Element's picture

If he said it, then that's good enough for me.

NoControl's picture

Italians?????   Indian government?????



I'm shocked.

Confundido's picture

They are so punctual: 10:30am and we go to below $1,600/oz....

ghengis86's picture

They keep smacking, I keep stacking.

eclectic syncretist's picture

I always feel really good after buying more silver, like I just did again!

gaoptimize's picture

Just closed out my immediately post-Sandy Hook SWHC position and re-bought silver miners (SIL) picking up quite afew shares in the trades.

DaveyJones's picture

Gold is like lips   a smack is a good thing   

ekm's picture

Berlusconi is correct.


At least in Europe they call it the way it is, BRIBING.


In US they have literally legalized bribing and renamed it as: LOBBYING.

Downtoolong's picture

his argument lies somewhere betweeen, 'if everyone's doing it - then it's ok', and 'everyone's been doing it forever so why stop now?'

Including, "Shit, I did it so many times myself I lost count."

Agent P's picture

This guy has a future in Chicago politics.

falak pema's picture

if you bunga bunga a minor thats not a crime thats just butter on bread! Especially if there is money crossing those parted legs once breached and embedded. 

As for "strictly business commissions" even Don Corleone would agree with Berlu : we always tell our competition its not bribes that hurt but bullets! They can't match us in either field thats why we are Capo di Capo! We know how to aim our guns both ways!


Dr. Richard Head's picture

"young prostitutes are a phenomenon that exists and it’s useless to deny the existence of these necessary situations for the benefit of a good party..."

Everybodys All American's picture

Now that is the unwritten Buffet rule.

israhole's picture

At least he's honest about it. Now if he would just tell the people about his extramarital adventures with two in the pink and one in the stink, they could trust him entirely.

Stuck on Zero's picture

He wasn't honest about it.  Someone paid him under the table to say it.


mantrid's picture

like insider trading in markets, bribes are inseparable from government. if you don't like insider trading - don't trade. if you don't like bribes, limit ya government.

DaveyJones's picture

"Crimes are necessary"   I was bribed to think this

TNTARG's picture

Real World is such a fuck...g shit, isn't it?

Speaking of Brible, Let he who is without sin cast the first stone!

We need a RESET.


TheGardener's picture

Freudian slip Argentino ? Brible ? Bible bribe bubbelish?

Knew you were catholic.

TNTARG's picture

I was using Anglo Hondo's word some comments above, "Brible"/sarc.

Catholic? Not in a thousand years. I'm agnostic.

Bansters-in-my- feces's picture

WOW...! Just wow....

These inbred fuckers are so delusional. Lying,cheating,deciet and theiving,is part of their nature and they think it is their god given right.

Mercury's picture

Bimbos for politicos are necessary too.

Get the Spumante girls...Daddy's home!

LongSoupLine's picture

He's a fucking piece of shit and the fucking poster child for all that's fucking wrong in politics and fucking global finance.


but, he's got fucking balls and lays it out there...I'll give the fucking prick that much, and for that he's one fucking level of respect over obama, CONgress or any EU parlliment fucking piece of shit lying fuck.

Tsar Pointless's picture

+9 F-bombs.

BT fucking W, I fucking agree with your fucking sentiments, too.

ParkAveFlasher's picture


I'd play bocci with Berlusconi. 

Winston of Oceania's picture

He is also right as far as in that corruption has been around as long as the political career. The last thing anyone needs is a professional politician, that is why the words of Dr. Carson cut so deep. He is the type of leader that we need.

TheGardener's picture

Couldn`t believe all my moderate liberal Italian friends
would be all in for Berlusconi first time around even though I kind of approved all his billboard messages I saw.

No one will ever understand Italian politics unless
you imagine a populace bombarded by great promises
of democratic or not so democratic equally bad intentions
for thousands of years !

Berlusconi is an entrepreneur after all and fighting inefficient government mafia structures in a country beyond help and his many leftist opponents have only this to stick onto him:

"How could you ever compete in our perfectly crooked system if you were not a crook yourself and we have all the judges
in the right places to prove capitalism is wrong !"

Italians will say fuck you commies and vote , but 60%
berlu could still be diebolded down to 48%

steve from virginia's picture



Truly mind-boggling.


When it is vital to come off top-dead-center and make policy shifts away from waste and denial, the leadership cadres are retreads ... over and over the same clowns ... as if these 'entertainers' have anything new to offer.


More so-called 'conservatives' who are tools of the banks, so-called 'liberals' that are also tools of the banks.


The banks must be precious, huh? Ya think?



AnAnonymous's picture

Liberals are 'americans'.
Conservatives are 'americans'.

All in all, 'americans' are tools to bankers.

ziggy59's picture

These clown spell Justice, Just Us

digalert's picture

Bribes are a phenom? WTF?

Unexplained, uncontrollable, these things (bribes) just happen.

jimijon's picture

Finally a politician speaks the truth about the "real" world and how it operates. 

Spiffs, lobbying, commission, finder's fees, they all are the same thing. And so what?! I too think that they are not crimes. What greases commerce? You think a billion f'ing laws? The problem here is the illusion of the fantasy vs real world.

The problem lies not in the concept of "bribe" or "lobbying" or "nepotism" or whatever, the real problem lies in the accountability of doing a great job once it is won. I am sure every country, company or individual tried some form of wining and dining. This is all fine to me... however, when it leads to shitty work because everyone now needs to hide the reason of the win... well then this leads to poor quality and then over priced extras.

Let's start being honest about how the world works.

Go Berlusconi!


Ghordius's picture

Ehmm.. european politicians telling the truth as they see it is not popular, here

TNTARG's picture

So europeans prefer lies?

"The complicity of economic power with the argentinean dictatorship: The Mercedes Benz' case".

Daimler agrees to pay $185m after admitting bribery

And so on.