Place of Birth. Education. Born in Milan, Italy, into the family of a bank employee. In 1961 he graduated with honors from the Faculty of Law of the University of Milan.
Business career. Immediately after receiving his diploma, he started doing business. He founded a construction company that was engaged in the construction of residential complexes near Milan.
In the late 1970s, he began to deal with the media. In particular, it acquired a stake in the national daily Il Giornale. In 1980, Berlusconi founded Canale 5, the first national commercial television network in Italy, which immediately became popular with viewers. Later, he created two more TV channels: Italia and Retequatro. These three channels later turned into a giant Mediaset holding.
The key factors in his success in this endeavor were, firstly, the creation of Pubitalia’80, a company engaged in the creation of informational advertising.
The television business received a new impetus in development after the creation of Sorrisi e Calzoni TV magazine, which almost immediately became one of the most popular magazines (circulation exceeded 2 million copies). In the late 1980s, interest in publishing culminated in the founding of Mondadori, Italy’s leading publishing house.
The success of commercial television in Italy prompted Berlusconi, within the framework of the Fininvest holding company, to create commercial television channels La Chinq in France, Telefunt in Germany and Telechinco in Spain.
As a result of its rapid growth, by the early 1990s, Fininvest became the second largest privately owned company in Italy and the largest media group in Europe.
In 1986, Berlusconi acquired the Milan football club and, over time, transformed it from an outsider into a world-class superclub. At that time, the businessman had problems with the prosecutor’s office, which accused him of giving bribes to government officials. Observers noted that the purchase of the football team was a kind of deal with the leftist government of Bettino Craxi. The club’s fans, whom Berlusconi took under his tutelage, traditionally voted for the communists, and Craxi passed a series of laws that halted investigations launched by the Prosecutor General’s Office.
Career in politics. Berlusconi’s team’s success has been converted into political dividends. In the winter of 1993-1994. he created the party Forza Italia (“Forward, Italy!” – this is how the Italian fans shout at football matches).
In 1994, a center-right coalition led by Forza Italia won the parliamentary elections. Not the least role in the victory of the party was played by the fact that Milan became the champion of Italy, and its owner looked like a real winner in the eyes of the fans-voters.
On March 27, 1994, the new movement received the largest number of votes. The coalition of parties created by Berlusconi, which included neo-fascists and the League of the North, won 366 out of 630 parliamentary seats, while Forza Italia received 21% of the vote – an unconditional record. On May 10, Silvio Berlusconi was first elected Prime Minister of Italy. However, in the summer he received six summons from the prosecutor’s office in connection with allegations of corruption and was forced to resign.
In 2001, after the new center-right bloc, House of Freedom, won the election, Berlusconi returned to the prime minister’s chair.
In April 2006, the center-left opposition won elections in Italy and Berlusconi was forced to step down. But the politician was not going to leave the political arena, he became a member of the European Parliament from his party.
After the fall of the Romano Prodi government, in January 2008, he took part in the election race, leading the center-right coalition People of Freedom.
On May 8, 2008, he was appointed Chairman of the Italian Council of Ministers. On November 12, 2011, he resigned under pressure from the parliamentary opposition and ordinary Italians, dissatisfied with the government’s failures in the country’s economic policy. Berlusconi’s place was taken by the former head of the European Commission Mario Monti.
Berlusconi is Italy’s richest politician.
In May 2019, Silvio Berlusconi passed in the elections to the European Parliament from his party “Forza Italia” (Forza Italia).
Scandals. The former Italian prime minister is known for his peculiar demeanor in public.
So, in 2002, at a meeting of EU leaders, during a group photo, Berlusconi depicted “horns” over the head of the Spanish foreign minister.
In 2009, he did not hesitate to speak the entire protocol part of the 60th NATO summit on a mobile phone, and was carried away so much that he spoke a minute of silence in memory of the soldiers who died in the operations of the alliance.
Also, the Italian prime minister is known for his dubious jokes. In particular, he spoke positively about the first ever black President of the United States, Barack Obama, listing among his virtues youth, good looks and “tan”.
In addition, the Italian prime minister is famous for his weakness for the opposite sex. And this despite the fact that he is legally married.
The latest sexual scandal erupted in May 2009, when Berlusconi was accused of having an underage girl. Then in the press there were photographs of guests at the villa of the Prime Minister, among whom there were many naked and half-naked women. After that, the wife of the politician filed for divorce.
Berlusconi reacts to all accusations with a smile, declaring that he, of course, is not a saint and all Italians know about it.
Also in 1999-2000. The prime minister appeared several times before an Italian court on charges of economic crimes (tax evasion, bribery), but was fully acquitted.
As of the end of 2016, 61 judicial investigations and criminal cases were initiated against Berlusconi in Italy in his entire life. He was charged with links with the mafia, bribery, corruption, money laundering, illegal financing of political parties, forgery of financial documents, tax fraud, pressure on witnesses, sexual contacts with a minor and others. Most of the criminal cases either collapsed at the stage of investigation, or were terminated due to the expiration of the statute of limitations or due to the reconciliation of the parties, or ended with the acquittal of the accused. In total, Berlusconi was convicted three times, but after all the appeals, the conviction only for tax crimes remained in full force. Due to the amnesty and old age, Berlusconi was released from prison. In one of the most resonant and most dangerous for the reputation of the politician in the case of connection with minors, Berlusconi was fully acquitted in the Milan court of appeal.
Regalia. Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Merit for the Italian Republic, Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Star of Romania, awarded the Order of Labor Merit.
Family bonds… Berlusconi has been married twice. He has two children from his first marriage and three from his second. Older children help their father run the family business. Berlusconi has five grandchildren. In December 2012, the former Italian prime minister announced his engagement to 28-year-old Francesca Pascale, who headed Berlusconi’s fan club.