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From BBC, 14 December 2010 Last updated at 13:45 GMT

Profile: Silvio Berlusconi

Silvio Berlusconi is among Italy's richest men - he and his family are estimated to be worth $9bn* (£5.7bn**) by US business magazine Forbes.

He won a third term as prime minister in 2008***, two years after his centre-right coalition was voted out of power.

Mr Berlusconi, 74****, owns a business empire that spans media, advertising, insurance, food and construction.

He also owns Italy's most successful football club, AC Milan, admits he has had cosmetic surgery, has fought off repeated corruption allegations, and has been dogged by sex scandals.

Indeed, it is his involvement in every part of Italian life that has angered his critics and exasperated his rivals.

For some Italians, Mr Berlusconi's success as a business tycoon is evidence of his abilities - a reason for him to run the country.

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