Silvio Berlusconi is at the centre of fresh controversy over claims he made a derogatory comment about Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Don't go by the looks of it: Even though Italian PM Berlusconi appears
to be close and sharing a funny moment with German Chancellor Merkel,
it has been revealed that Berlusconi has made offensive remarks about
Merkel's body. File Pic/Getty Images
The Italian prime minister, (74) is accused of insulting his fellow European leader during a conversation with a newspaper editor.
It has been suggested that, in a phone call in early July, Berlusconi referred to 57-year-old Merkel as 'an unf***able fat a**'.
The call between Berlusconi and a businessman was recorded by investigators during their search for evidence against the 74-year-old politician for a variety of charges including corruption.
Although the recording has not been released so the exact phrase Berlusconi used is unclear, it is said to be extremely insulting and concern Merkel's physique.
Italian MP Rocco Buttiglione brought the gossip out of selected newspaper columns and into the open this week.
He told Parliament, "If the rumours are true, which are not only circulating in journalist circles but also in parliament, that the Prime Minister has spoken about Merkel in an unspeakable, unpronounceable, unacceptable way, the situation would be dramatic."
He said the rumours were already causing damage to German and Italian relations. Merkel and Berlusconi have had public mishaps in dealing with each other in the past.
Two years ago he kept Merkel waiting at a summit while he chatted on his mobile telephone. The year before he 'jumped' out at her from behind a statue and shouted 'peek a boo' when she arrived in Italy for an official visit.
Madonna has enraged Italian politicians by alluding that PM Silvio Berlusconi had "screwed the entire nation".