Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, in an interview published Monday, has denied the existence of photographs whose publication could further embarrass him as he prepares to host a Group of Eight summit later this week.
Berlusconi was reacting to a report by the London-based Sunday Times that a series of photographs taken at the premier's luxury Sardinian villa would surface ahead of the G8 summit, which begins Tuesday in L'Aquila, Italy.
In one photograph, Berlusconi grins broadly as two young women kiss in front of him on the grounds of the Villa Certosa, according to the Sunday Times.
"Certain foreign press, linked to certain Italian press, are conducting a morbid campaign," Berlusconi told Il Giornale, a Milan daily linked to his media empire.
"No embarassing photos exist. I repeat: I have nothing to fear. Trash and slander don't even tickle me," Berlusconi said.
In May, Italian magistrates acting on claims by Berlusconi that his privacy had been violated, banned the publication of thousands of photos of the premier and his guests at Villa Certosa, taken by a Sardinian photographer.
However, some of the images, including those of topless women and a naked man - later identified as former Czech prime minister, Mirek Topolanek - were published by newspapers in Spain and elsewhere.
Since April, Berlusconi has been dogged by allegations about his private life, including the collapse of his marriage and claims by a prostitute that she spent a night with him at his Rome residence.
Just days after a newspaper revealed Berlusconi had attended the birthday party of an 18-year-old lingerie model, the premier's 52-year-old wife Veronica Lario announced she was seeking a divorce, accusing her husband of consorting with underage women.
In June, prosecutors in the southern city of Bari said they were probing prostitution allegations after several women claimed they were paid to attend parties hosted by the premier at Villa Certosa and his Rome residence, Palazzo Grazioli.