Lele Mora is one of the best-known casting agents in Italy, but this close friend of Silvio Berlusconi is also one of the central characters accused in the so-called Rubygate scandal.
He is being investigated for inciting prostitution, but the TV impresario, a regular at the infamous gatherings at Berlusconi’s villa in Arcore, categorically denies the claims made against him.
He gave euronews his version of the Italian prime minister’s now notorious ‘bunga bunga’ parties.
Valérie Guariat, euronews:
“You’re at the centre of the current political scandal. Ruby has alleged that you introduced her to the PM’s parties. What exactly was your role in these infamous evenings?”
Lele Mora, celebrity agent:
“I believe it’s nothing like what has been said. Especially as Ruby said she had never had relations with the prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi.
“All he has done is helped her, nothing more. I can say that from my personal knowledge, because I was there. I didn’t take her to Arcore but I was there, and that’s different.
“She arrived there with two of her friends for a meal like many others, a meal you could only describe as normal. There’s been talk of completely over the top meals, of strip-teases and lap dancing – but nothing like that happened.
“I’ve been going to Arcore since 1976 when my great friendship with prime minister Berlusconi began, and I’ve never seen anything like that.
“The meals at the Arcore villa were extremely simple. He used to put on these tricolour meals, with, for example, a starter of mozzarella, tomatoes and basil, then a trio of pasta – one with tomato, others with pesto and pasta, with white sauce or four cheeses.
“And then we would sing. He’s someone who loves singing and during the meal there would always be, musicians – men and women – it depended on the evening and the guests.
“There were presents for all the ladies at the table, because he is very gallant, he appreciates femininity. But that doesn’t mean he abused femininity, or the young women, or women, who were at these parties.
“There’s been all this talk of bunga-bunga, but bunga-bunga is just one of his jokes, when he got on his hobby-horse, every night he talked about bunga-bunga!”
When euronews asked Lele Mora why young and beautiful women were always present at the parties, he talked about Berlusconi’s loneliness.
“Listen, I think the company of young people for a man in his 70s makes him feel young. Berlusconi has this fear, a fear of growing old. He said that all the time. He said: ‘I’m 74, I think seeing some youth makes me happy, gives me joy and life!’
“He was searching for the company of friends. He’d call me, often at the last minute, to say: ‘I’ve arrived in Rome, come with whoever you like, it’s important not to be alone.’
“I don’t think that is so serious, so reprehensible. So if they want to attack me for prostitution, or him for seducing minors or other women, all that is just lies!”
“It’s well known that you have a fascination with Benito Mussolini. Do you think there’s a parallel between these two men?”
“They are two totally different characters. One was a statesman, while prime minister Berlusconi is not a statesman. He’s a major entrepreneur who has given himself to politics. And he is no father-figure like Mussolini was – and I’m speaking there of the man… Maybe there is one thing in common: women. Both men loved and love women a lot.”
“How does Mister Berlusconi view women as far as you know?”
“Women? He loves them. He loves all of them. He loves them madly, like a fool. Because, to him, women are passion and life.”