Former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi said his children feel persecuted just as Jewish families did in Nazi Germany because he is being hounded by the country's magistrates who want to eliminate him politically.

Berlusconi's comments came from an advance excerpt, released on Wednesday (November 6), of an interview with him by Italian television journalist Bruno Vespa for his latest book.

The comments were later published on Berlusconi's Forza Italia party's website.

Replying to a question about whether his five children had asked him to sell his media empire and leave Italy to escape his legal troubles, Berlusconi said: "My children say that they feel like Jewish families in Germany under Hitler's regime. Truly, everyone is against us."

Berlusconi, who protests his innocence in a series of court cases which he blames on left-wing magistrates, is well-known for making controversial remarks, such as calling President Barack Obama "suntanned" after he was first elected in 2008.

His conviction for tax fraud earlier this year poses a serious threat to his decades-long political career because it comes with a ban from public office, though polls show millions of Italians would still vote for him.

Berlusconi is also on trial on charges of having paid for sex with a minor and then abusing the powers of his office to have her released from jail after she was arrested for theft.

Presented by Adam Justice

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