Arnold Schwarzenegger was reportedly saved embarrassment in the run-up to his 2003 California Governor campaign when American Media Inc boss DAVID PECKER allegedly bought a 1983 Playboy video hosted by the Austrian movie star.

The Los Angeles Times reported yesterday (12SEP05) that it has been made privy to AMI contracts which show Pecker paid THOMAS WELLS - the owner of the CARNIVAL IN RIO video - a total of $2,000 (GBP1,100) to "provide AMI with information regarding the Arnold Schwarzenegger tape" and to hand over his copy.

The Californian newspaper says the video features footage of Schwarzenegger dancing with scantily clad Brazilian women, and in one scene he is seen grabbing one of the dancer's buttocks before she quickly removes his hand.

Schwarzenegger allegedly says to the camera, "You know something? After watching the (dancers) shake it, I can absolutely understand why Brazil is totally devoted to my favourite body part - the a**."

The Los Angeles Times reports that, unbeknown to Pecker, the Playboy video was already freely available on the internet before he struck the deal with Wells in 2003, and that just a few weeks earlier he had agreed a multi-million dollar contract with Schwarzenegger to become executive editor of his Flex and Muscle + Fitness magazines.

In 2001 a National Enquirer story, a magazine owned by Pecker, reported that Schwarzenegger had enjoyed a seven-year affair with GIGI GOYETTE - and Pecker is subsequently alleged to have paid her $20,000 (GBP11,100) to keep silent during the Terminator actor's election campaign in 2003.

An AMI insider told the Los Angeles Times, "Pecker wanted to protect Arnold. When we had embarrassing information about Arnold, we were to buy it up off the market."