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.

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TheGardener's picture

Stop whining TNTARG, I lack the patience to read through that loser shit and others the language skills.

Mercedes Benz or what they called themselves in between takeovers is an aggressive industrial beast seeking it`s equals, might makes right , you know ?

Ever heard of the unbeatable Unimog as in "can`t bug a Unimog" ? Well it came with a 6 cylinder Mercedes engine
that was suddenly no longer for delivery. Takeover price
of the subsequently bankrupt Unimog factory ? Industrial policy Mercedes Benz style, no time for losers: 1 DM !

TNTARG's picture

Whining? Not at all. Loser shit? I'm no loser. I have a wonderful life. No banker took me a dime, ever.

Just naming things for what they are: do not complain about bribery because it's a system's intrinsic quality.

It's you targeting Bernake or Greenspan i.e.,  just faces of a power whose roots are overseas.

As for the language I apologize. Nevertheless I'd love to see you reading and writing in Spanish, Italian, English, French, Portuguese. Forgive me, please, English isn't my mother-tong language.

Finally, you don't have to read my comments. Just skip them.


Canucklehead's picture

How would Chris Dorner react to this lapse in corporate/government ethics?

DaveyJones's picture

he'd get all hot, take shots at them, then try to smoke them out before everything collapsed

TheGardener's picture

Dorner endorsed Hitlary.

One more shot for him in between his eyes with greatings from me myself and I.

Falconsixone's picture

Would it be illegal for someone to bribe someone to shoot Berlusconi right between the eyes?

swissaustrian's picture

Denying the illegaity of bribes is a carefully calculated voter bribe by Mr Bunga. He wants to win the elections, so he has to get the support of the corrupt Italian elite. Bribing the bribers is obviously part of that plan.

Get you popcorn ready for the EURplosion after Mr Bungas victory on Feb 24th.

Atomizer's picture

Speaking of bribes, the entire tax based peasants will begin to unwind the myths of global warming/Climate Change bullshit. The carnival barker invoking carbon taxes will be laughed upon.


Have a great day! 



Anglo Hondo's picture

If the Brible says it is ok, then we are just doing God's Work.


Shizzmoney's picture

Look at how these assholes scramble to answer Sen Warren on why the DOJ/Regulators were so quick to settle with TBTF banks:

It's such bullshit.  The economy will NOT get fixed until these motherfuckers are quartered, hanged, and made examples of.

AnAnonymous's picture

Bribing and being bribed is human nature.

Signed: an American.

TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

Bribery is a Chinese citizenism tradition. It was invented by the Indo European Han people four thousand years ago, early in the Xia Dynasty.

Signed: AnAnonymous

Urban Redneck's picture

Chinese public officials: the largest global recipient of bribes by multinational's seeking to offshore operations

Chinese SOEs: the largest global payer of bribes by institutions seeking access to natural resources

EmmittFitzhume's picture

I bet there is talk over there about bringing back the Guillotine...

thisandthat's picture


bribes are a phenomenon that exists

Bribes are the lubricant of business - that's how competitors screw each other.

TheGardener's picture

Whenever more than two businessmen come together, you have a recipe for collusion ! Or so some ancient economist said.

Business coexisting while the state has undue leverage:

Business openly accepting government contracts with all the strings attached and competitors virtually hanged : collusion. Corporatism getting refined.

Corporate businesses being state sponsored monopolies or
them being given the privilege thereof: Fascism.

Corruption is just sowed in Dukaten in deportees cloth !

flacorps's picture

Commissions are fully disclosed payments by someone brokering a transaction and collecting said fee by the consent of all parties to the transaction. Bribes are garnered by someone close to the transaction who has determined that he will secretly act more in his own best interests than in the best interest of his principal (which is typically the people or the shareholders). Berlusconi's moral obtuseness as to the difference means that the Italian people deserve better, not someone who seeks betterment for himself. However, in light of the globalist opponent, it may make sense to echo the Louisiana bumper sticker in opposition to David Duke's candidacy: "Vote for the crook--It's important"

Urban Redneck's picture

the real world isn't so black and white...

TheGardener's picture

"Commissions are fully disclosed payments by someone brokering a transaction and collecting said fee by the consent of all parties to the transaction."

I got said bribes legalized through audits on public procurement.

Still have no love for the guys collecting those fees
and their treasonous services, ex- government employees
they were , greedy beyond any of the rackets that made a name.

Rusty Diggins's picture

I see no problem with good ole pirate pragmatism

My Days Are Getting Fewer's picture

After local officials are stripped of the luxury pensions and have to pay for their own healthcare, then you will understand the need to slip a Benji under the counter to get a permit to burn leaves.

SmittyinLA's picture

in politics you can do anything except tell the truth, which is why Buslesconi will not get re-elected and Hagel will get approved. 

The Establishment cannot tolerate a truther or anybody who "tells it like it is", because those people have to be accountable. 

q99x2's picture

If they didn't bribe and blackmail in the U.S. the FEDs would have to shut down D.C.

Shizzmoney's picture

Before moving to Washington, Barofsky was a little-known federal narcotics prosecutor in New York. The two jobs had more in common than you might think.

He calls it “the bullet or the bribe.”

“I was told by a very senior treasury official that I was going to do real harm to myself and my family because of my harsh tone towards Washington and the Obama Administration, as well as my criticism towards the banks,” Barofsky said. “That was the bullet. Then the bribe came as, well, if I softened my tone, was a little bit more upbeat, then all those things could happen for me, including maybe … a federal appointment of a judgeship, which for a lawyer is a really big deal.”

At the time, he joked that it sounded suspiciously similar to the ultimatums that drug kingpin Pablo Escobar used to make with Colombian police.

The deal, Barofsky said, was “either you’re going to do my bidding and take this giant bag of pesos, or you’re going to get a bullet in your head.”

I am on to you's picture

What a you know,then  the Nobel peace Obamas killing of innocents aint even murder!

Go,go Berlusconi,the corrupt Tecnocratia,is on your side,if you try realy hard,youll be the Next Papa of Vomiting Scums,and will be burried next to the other Don,in the Vomitcan of ignorat sheeps seeing holyknights:

Wake me,i must be having a nightmare,those Mescalin,s must be Gmoed,damn you Don Juan!

Its not AAAAAAAmen,it,s GGGGGGGmen,all over!

billsykes's picture


Shocking, bribes by a guy that cheats, uses hookers and fucks underage girls, and is a politician? 

I heart italy. 


In the big scheme of things bribing is good- excessive bribing is bad. 

In most countries, a little sugar to get the little things that hold you up like licenses or permits it can take weeks or even months- I like it because it cuts the bullshit out and you know exactly where you stand. I hate it when they do their little lies, and use 'merican reasoning with them- if you don't know what’s really going on, it’s very frustrating. 



Herkimer Jerkimer's picture




'How much long can this continue?


Is this not a watermark to have crossed, where a former and soon-to-be again, head of a major country, comes out and makes a statement, that once would have be a world shocker, to profess publicly, and do it with such simpering charm, unapologetically, and without shame as to leave those of us, with at least a shread of decency, speachlesss.


When is this whole world going to fall in?


Truly a moment that will live in ignominy and to be reflected upon in years to come.


Carl LaFong's picture

He should get the award for "The World's Most Honest Politician".

TSA gropee's picture

Hmmm, on honest political elitist crook. Go figure. What's next, Ronald McDonald admitting that their food is, ahem, Bad for you?

Or is the real news here that the machine is in place and for which all intensive purposes, gives all the elitist crony scumbags a "get out of jail free" card? If so, then it would appear that the last vestiges of accountability has (IMHO) been swept away.