Silvio Berlusconi’s rivals in the media industry for years have accused him of massive conflicts of interest running the government that regulates Italy’s media industry, of which he is such a big part. Lawsuits, scandals, and plenty of brash talk from the outspoken mogul who defied every controversy were normal during his time in office. But today in Rome the billionaire media baron did what his political and media enemies have wanted him to do for years: he resigned. This will leave him time to focus on his conglomerate Mediaset, Italy’s largest commercial broadcaster that also runs Spain’s Espana Comunicacion and has a stake in Dutch reality TV giant Endemol among its many interests. Berlusconi had 3 separate stints as Italy’s prime minister over a 17-year span. This week he pledged to step down after the government finally passed a package of harsh economic reforms designed to keep Italy from defaulting on its $2.6 trillion debt and avoid the market meltdown that threatens to sweep through Europe. Berlusconi handed in his resignation at the presidential palace, where thousands gathered to cheer his ouster, yelling “buffoon,” “Mafioso” and “shame” as he arrived, according to news reports.
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.