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Berlusconi hits out as paper asks: 'Who's that girl?'

SILVIO Berlusconi has lashed out against an Italian newspaper demanding that the premier explain the nature of his relationship with an 18-year-old.

Berlusconi declined to answer reporters' questions yesterday over his feud with La Repubblica, a left-leaning daily.

On Thursday, the paper demanded the premier clarify how he knew Noemi Letizia, the 18-year-old who has been quoted as saying she calls Berlusconi "papi" and has been photographed sporting a gold and diamond necklace the premier reportedly gave her as a birthday gift.

Hour later, Berlusconi's office accused Repubblica of conducting "low attacks" that confirm a "media defamation campaign bent on using exclusively private matters for political ends." It said that the newspaper was motivated by "hatred and envy" of the 72-year-old premier.

Letizia came to the forefront after Veronica Lario, Berlusconi's wife, criticized the premier's attendance at Letizia's 18th birthday party.


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