Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has shrugged off a series of photographs of naked women taken at his villa as "nothing scandalous".To view the photos click here.
The series of snaps was published on a Spanish website and pictured several bare bottom and naked women by a jacuzzi.
Other shots showed Mr Berlusconi walking in front of a woman along a path on the estate.
The Italian leader has applied to the Italian Privacy Commission to have the 700 photographs taken by snapper Antonello Zappadu seized.
He claims they were a ''breach of his privacy".
However, the pictures had already been sold to El Pais through an international agency.
News of the photos emerged while Mr Berlusconi took part in a radio phone-in.
He said: "I am not at all frightened. There is nothing scandalous in these pictures but this is a violation of my privacy and an scandalous aggression.
"The photographs show people having a jacuzzi by a private villa they were staying in while my guests."
Mr Berlusconi rejected any suggestion that the ongoing controversy could affect relations with the Catholic Church.
"If there is a government close to the Church then it is this one, in fact the Vatican has said that relations between this government and the Holy See are are the best ever," he said.
Among other photos posted on the El Pais website - and quickly seen on Italian sites - was a photo of a naked man believed to be a former Czech Prime Minister.
Mirek Topolanek had been staying at Mr Berlusconi's Villa Certosa estate near Oblige on the Italian island of Sardinia.
The perma-tanned media tycoon said: "I received a delegation from the Czech Republic and it is not possible that a person a kilometre away took photographs inside a house.
"Privacy must be respected at all times especially in the presence of illustrious guests."
When asked about the photographs of the naked women, Mr Berlusconi hit back and said: ''Do you take a shower fully clothed?
"They are having a jacuzzi in a private house and they are victims of a scandalous aggression.''
Previous guests at Mr Berlusconi's Villa Certosa have included 18-year-old Noemi Letizia, whose birthday party he attended two months ago.
The Italian leader reportedly gave her a £6,000 gold and diamond necklace.
has since emerged that Noemi was under age when she attended a New Year's Eve 2008 party at the villa and Mr Berlusconi has come under pressure to explain the relationship.
He has denied anything "spicy".
However, his wife Veronica Lario, 52, announced last month that she was divorcing him because she was ''fed up of him associating with minors,'' adding that he was ''not well.''
Mr Berlusconi is also facing a probe over a possible abuse of power, after it emerged that private guests were flown on official state planes to Sardinia for personal business.
He has dismissed any wrong doing saying ''all the rules were followed'' and despite the controversy he is confident of victory in the European elections.
If you want to read accompanying stories from the El Pais "newspaper" you can do so here, here and here. (background stories are in Spanish)
A couple of points regarding this engendered "scandal".
First they tried this .
Now, there is a fallout & rift between Sky News, owned by Rupert Murdoch, and Berlusconi. Hence the salacious nature of their reporting.
As for the photos, specifically, which can viewed in the above link, they are frankly garden variety in nature.
One has a girl in a thong and the other topless, Heaven forbid, and the other has a man, not Belusconi, naked with his penis out but not engaging in sexual conduct.
Others, like Berlusconi, in the photos are dressed normally and there is no indication of anything untoward or amiss occurring.
For the record this is his private villa on the island of Sardinia and anyone who has a clue about European culture and society would know that this is very common, particularly in the countries with a Mediterranean coastline.
I have seen more skin and worse conduct on South Beach!!!
MAKE NO MISTAKE ABOUT IT, this is an orchestrated effort to bring about the downfall of a right wing, pro-Israeli, Euro sceptic government led by the most charismatic leader on the European continent...