Europe

Italy Berlusconi sex trial: Call for six years' jail

  • 13 May 2013
  • From the section Europe
Silvio Berlusconi (28 February 2011)
Silvio Berlusconi denies any wrongdoing

Prosecutors have demanded a six-year sentence and lifetime ban from public office at the latest trial of former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

They allege he paid for sex with a 17-year-old dancer at his residence in 2010 and abused his term in office.

Mr Berlusconi, who is already embroiled in several court cases, was given a four-year sentence for tax fraud in October 2012.

He lost an appeal to overturn the conviction last week.

In the latest case, the prosecution in Milan said that women invited to his private residence for so-called "bunga-bunga" party evenings were part of a prostitution system set up for his personal sexual satisfaction.

The allegations focus specifically on his relationship with 17-year-old Moroccan girl Karima El-Mahroug, known as "Ruby the Heartstealer", whom he is accused of paying for sex.

Both she and Mr Berlusconi have denied the allegations.

Ms El-Mahroug says she did receive 7,000 euros (£5,900) but it was as a gift after a party.

However, Prosecutor Ilda Boccassini told the court during closing arguments on Monday that the young woman lied when she denied having had sex with the former prime minister.

She said Ms El-Mahroug had received more than 4.5m euros (£3.8m) from Mr Berlusconi between October and December 2010.

Mr Berlusconi is also charged with abusing his power of office after calling a police station to press for the release of Ms Mahroug from custody when she was arrested in Milan in a separate petty theft case.

He has acknowledged the phone-call but says it was made as a favour to former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, whose granddaughter he believed Ms Mahroug to be.

A TV programme about the "bunga-bunga" evenings was broadcast on Sunday on one of Mr Berlusconi's Mediaset channels, Canale 5, in which witnesses said the former prime minister had entertained guests by singing and telling stories.

Mr Berlusconi told the programme he had "absolutely never had intercourse with Ruby".

Mr Berlusconi's defence lawyers will present their final arguments at the beginning of June, with a verdict expected later that month.

The 76-year-old already faces a four-year prison sentence and five-year ban from public office for a fraud conviction, which he is expected to appeal against in Italy's highest court, the Court of Cassation.

Last week Italian prosecutors requested a new corruption trial against Mr Berlusconi, who they say allegedly bribed a left-wing senator to defect to his right-wing People of Freedom party (PDL) in 2006.

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