ROME – Premier Silvio Berlusconi issued an unapologetic defense of his lifestyle Friday amid the latest scandal involving his personal life, admitting that he intervened to secure the release from police custody of a 17-year-old Moroccan girl who had previously been at his villa.

Berlusconi, 74, denied that he had done anything inappropriate in securing the release of the Moroccan runaway nicknamed Ruby, and scoffed at press reports that portrayed their interaction as improper.

The disclosure comes at a difficult time for Berlusconi, who is grappling with street protests in Naples over his failure to stop a trash crisis there, a weakened government coalition and his declining popularity in the polls.

Saying “I love life, I love women,” he insisted he was proud of his lifestyle, which has come under scrutiny for his purported dalliances with young women and an encounter with a prostitute unveiled last year.

Without citing sources, several newspapers have reported that Ruby told prosecutors she attended dinners at Berlusconi’s villa in Arcore, outside Milan, although she has denied having sex with the premier. The Italian leader has dismissed the scandal as “media trash.”

“I’ve got nothing to clarify,” Berlusconi said Friday. “I’m a playful person, full of life. I love life, I love women.”

“Nobody can make me, at my age, change my lifestyle, of which I am absolutely proud,” he told reporters in Brussels.

Il Fatto Quotidiano, a left-leaning newspaper that is frequently critical of Berlusconi, first reported this week that Milan prosecutors were looking into Ruby’s story after police discovered her without documents and reported her to social workers.

According to Il Fatto Quotidiano, Ruby’s story is full of contradictions and even prosecutors are wary of her claims.

Berlusconi did not deny Friday that the girl was at his home but declined to provide any more details beyond what Ruby has already said. Berlusconi’s close friend Emilio Fede was quoted as saying by Corriere della Sera on Friday that he’s seen the girl at the villa “a couple of times.”

Ruby was quoted as saying in an Italian daily, La Stampa, that she has been to Berlusconi’s villa once and the premier thought she was 24. When Berlusconi found out she was a minor, he did not want to see her again, Ruby was quoted as saying.