The Last Bunga Bunga?

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Before Berlusconi was a world-famous politician, he was a renowned media mogul. In 1971, he started a local cable television channel called Telemilano, which grew into an empire. That empire, Mediaset, owns Italy's three largest private TV channels, but is just a portion of the former prime minister's business ventures. He controls the country's largest publishing house, a daily newspaper, and the soccer club AC Milan, all through his holdings company, Fininvest.  

Above, Berlusconi leaves a press conference in Paris on Nov. 22, 1985, after making an announcement about his privately owned 5th TV channel. 


Berlusconi, who spent the early part of his career crooning in nightclubs and on cruise ships, is pictured in the television screen grab above singing a song with the Italian musician Mariano Apicella during a private party at his summer residence on the island of Sardinia. Images of the performance circulated on Italian television in September 2003. 


Berlusconi again joined forces with the right-wing National Alliance and Northern League to recapture the office of prime minister in 2001. Shortly after the election, then-U.S. President George W. Bush visited Italy.

Above, Bush and Berlusconi toast each other during an official dinner at the White House in Washington, D.C. on Oct. 13, 2008.


Berlusconi and Russian President Vladimir Putin have a well-documented friendship that began receiving media coverage during Berlusconi's second term. The two men have been known to pal around during pressers and while skiing and fishing. 

Above, the two world leaders joke around at a press conference in Lipetsk, Russia on April 21, 2004.


In 2008, Berlusconi was elected prime minister once again at the head of yet another new political party, People of Freedom -- the result of a merger between Forza Italia and the Northern Alliance.

Above, Berlusconi charms Italy's then-Education Minister Mariastella Gelmini during a press conference in Rome on Oct. 22, 2008.


Berlusconi whispers into the ear of then-French President Nicolas Sarkozy as German Chancellor Angela Merkel chuckles during a European summit to address the global financial crisis on Oct. 4, 2008, in Paris, France. 


Berlusconi leaves a hospital in Milan on Dec. 17, 2009, with bandages covering his nose, cheek, and mouth after a protester hurled a souvenir statue of Milan's Duomo at the prime minister's face.


Continuing their decades-long friendship, Berlusconi and then-Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin pose with former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on a plane as they tour an airport in the Black Sea resort of Sochi on Dec. 3, 2010. 


Improbably, Berlusconi hit the campaign trail once again this year. Here, he delivers a speech during a campaign rally in Rome on Jan. 25, 2013.

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