Putin #039;Figuratively#039; Offered Ministerial Job to Comrade Berlusconi

lt;pgt;Russian President Vladimir Putin quot;figurativelyquot; offered disgraced Italian former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi a ministerial job, according to Russian independent news agency lt;a href=quot;http://www.interfax.ru/russia/455629quot; rel=quot;nofollowquot;gt;Interfaxlt;/agt;.lt;/pgt; lt;pgt;Italian newspaper lt;emgt;lt;a href=quot;http://www.lastampa.it/2015/07/23/italia/politica/lultima-di-berlusconi-il-mio-futuro-far-il-ministro-per-il-mio-amico-putin-FM9wYGkVjeYtdLSl3PnOZP/premium.htmlquot; rel=quot;nofollowquot;gt;La Stampalt;/agt;lt;/emgt; cited Silvio Berlusconi on Thursday as saying that Putin had offered him Russian citizenship and the position of minister of economic development. The newspaper claims to have overheard Berlusconi, whose alleged involvement in several high profile scandals and conviction for tax fraud has hugely dented his image in Italy, boasting about his Russian friend#039;s treatment of him.lt;/pgt; lt;pgt;quot;Think about it: in Italy, I am pushed to the margins of political life, while Putin said that he could give me citizenship and put me at the helm of the Russian economic ministry,quot; the newspaper reported Berlusconi as saying while entertaining fellow members of his Forza Italia party in Rome#039;s Consolini restaurant.lt;/pgt; lt;pgt;The paper was sceptical, commenting that quot;everyone is entitled to five minutes of stupidity in the midst of a dry summer.quot;lt;/pgt; lt;pgt;Putin#039;s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov then seemed to confirm that a similar conversation had taken place, telling Interfax that the two men#039;s close friendship allows them to make such claims as a token of camaraderie rather than as genuine job offers.lt;/pgt; lt;pgt;quot;Vladimir Putin has never made a secret of his relations with Berlusconi and of their friendly feelings,quot; Peskov told Interfaxlt;/pgt; lt;pgt;quot;As it is known, Putin and Berlusconi have long had friendly relations. They keep in touch and we are talking here of truly comradely terms. And specifically in this given instance a figurative support for Berlusconi is implied which should be viewed precisely as figurative support and not as a formal offer to assume any official post, something which would of course be impossible,quot; Peskov said.lt;/pgt; lt;pgt;Berlusconi was charged and convicted of paying for sex with an underage dancer in 2013, which came with a lifeline ban from politics, however he was acquitted of these charges after an appeal in 2014. He has also been involved in other legal scandals, one of which resulted in him serving community service for corporate tax fraud.lt;/pgt; lt;pgt;The former Italian leader has remained friends with Putin through his difficult times, with the Russian president lt;a href=quot;https://www.newsweek.com/putin-misses-meeting-merkel-partying-berlusconi-until-early-hours-278031quot; rel=quot;nofollowquot;gt;partying until 4am at Berlusconi#039;s houselt;/agt; while in the Italian#039;s hometown of Milan for crunch talks with European leaders over the Ukraine crisis last year.lt;/pgt; lt;pgt;Berlusconi returned the favour by visiting his Russian friend last month to enjoy a lt;a href=quot;https://www.newsweek.com/putin-berlusconi-reunite-siberian-dance-recital-329465quot; rel=quot;nofollowquot;gt;dance recital and a riverside strolllt;/agt; in the Siberian Altai region. Dancers at the event claimed on social media that they were pleasantly surprised with their audience as they had not been told to expect either Berlusconi or Putin.lt;/pgt;