Brainfood: How he made his pile - Silvio Berlusconi, Italian prime minister and media tycoon

Who is he? Italy's wealthiest man is a super-slick, self-made business mogul, sitting on an estimated $12 billion personal fortune. He is also Italy's prime minister.

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

How did he make his millions? After university, Berlusconi persuaded his father's bank to stand guarantor for his first construction project. Its success led to others, but it was Publitalia, his advertising company, that made him serious money. He later added three commercial TV channels, two national newspapers and publishing giant Mondadori to his empire. He was PM for six months in 1994, and re-elected in 2001.

The secret of his success? An unrivalled salesman, image-maker, networker and rule-bending entrepreneur, Berlusconi uses his over-the-top charm and perseverance to forge ahead.

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