Berlusconi would not have been tried if gay: Putin

VALDAI, Russia Thu Sep 19, 2013 2:45pm EDT

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a meeting with 'Valdai' International Discussion Club members in the town of Valdai September 19, 2013. REUTERS/Alexander Zemlianichenko/Pool

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a meeting with 'Valdai' International Discussion Club members in the town of Valdai September 19, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Alexander Zemlianichenko/Pool

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VALDAI, Russia (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin rallied behind his old friend Silvio Berlusconi on Thursday, saying the former Italian prime minister would not have faced trial for having sex with a minor if he were gay.

"Berlusconi is being tried because he lives with women. If he were homosexual, no one would lift a finger against him," he told a gathering of journalists and Russia experts.

Putin's comment provoked laughter in the audience over what appeared to be a reference to criticism abroad over a law he signed this year banning the spread of "anti-gay propaganda" among minors in Russia.

Berlusconi is appealing against a conviction for paying for sex with a former nightclub dancer when she was under 18. He has also been convicted of tax fraud.

He and Putin regard each other as friends and the former KGB spy has proved loyal, telling a conference in 2011 that "however much they nag Signor Berlusconi for his special attitude to the beautiful sex ... he has shown himself as a responsible statesman."

(Reporting by Thomas Grove, writing by Timothy Heritage; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

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Comments (1)
the_cortex wrote:
CORRECTION:

-> over a law he signed this year banning the spread of “ANTI-GAY propaganda” among minors in Russia.

This is not correct as the laws implemented are clearly homophobic… it should read:

“over a law he signed this year banning the spread of “GAY PROPAGANDA” amongst minors in Russia. (either the laws are anti gay or the ban is directed at “gay propaganda”, not anti-gay propaganda)

Sep 19, 2013 6:37pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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