Milan

Berlusconi witnesses deny sums received were sex payments

Three women confirm receiving funds, but not for prostitution

Berlusconi witnesses deny sums received were sex payments

Milan, November 9 - Three young women testifying in a Milan court Friday admitted to receiving sums regularly from former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, but denied they were related to prostitution activities. Prosecutors say Berlusconi allegedly had sex with 33 prostitutes at his Arcore villa in northern Italy over the course of several months. One of the alleged prostitutes at the centre of the sex procurement scandal is Karima 'Ruby' El Mahroug, a Moroccan-born belly dancer who was underage at the time. Ioana Visan, who reportedly took part in the evenings at Berlusconi's Arcore villa, said she received about 2,000 euros a month from the businessman-turned-politician. Similar information was provided by Aris Espinoza who says Berlusconi sent her monthly bank transfers of about 2,500 euros. Espinoza was answering questions by Judge Annamaria Gatto. Visan told prosecutor Antonio Sangermano that whilst Berlusconi provided guests with cash at the parties, these were not "payments for sexual acts". During the proceedings Elisa Toti, a presenter on Berlusconi's private television network Mediaset, told the court that she received 2,500 euros a month from the ex-premier starting January 2011. "Berlusconi also helped me by lending me a deposit on a house and he is also helping me to pay my mortgage," she said.

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