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Marina Berlusconi defends publication of topless Kate pics
The online news portal of TV5

ROME -- Marina Berlusconi, the daughter of Italy's former prime minister and the head of publishing house Mondadori, on Sunday defended the publication of topless photos of Prince William's wife Catherine.

In a letter addressed to the left-leaning daily newspaper La Repubblica, which has criticised Silvio Berlusconi for allowing Mondadori's French gossip magazine Closer and Italian publication Chi to print the pictures, Marina Berlusconi said running the images was a matter of editorial freedom.

"Mondadori, of which I am chairwoman, is a publishing house that uses in the best way possible this freedom and this independence that shareholders have always recognised. On this occasion as in others, Mondadori has confined itself to doing its job," Marina Berlusconi wrote.

The Mondadori Group is part of Silvio Berlusconi's media empire.

Closer on Friday published five pages showing grainy images of Prince William and his wife sunning themselves on a terrace at a house in the south of France. Several photos, shot through a telephoto lens, show the Duchess of Cambridge without her top on.

Chi magazine is on Monday planning to publish a special edition featuring the pictures splashed over 26 pages.

Marina Berlusconi herself was snapped topless by a paparazzo and the ensuing photos appeared two years ago in Chi.

Chi director Alfonso Signorini said Saturday the photos were a "scoop" and that it would be unthinkable to not publish them.

Silvio Berlusconi resigned last November amid a national financial meltdown and scandals including allegations he hosted sex parties dubbed "Bunga Bungas".