Milan

Prosecutor says 'no doubt' Ruby was prostitute

Berlusconi on trial for paying for sex with under-18-year-old

Prosecutor says 'no doubt' Ruby was prostitute

Milan, May 13 - Milan Prosecutor Ilda Boccassini told the trial into allegations ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi paid for sex with an underage prostitute on Monday there was no doubt that the woman at the centre of the case sold her body. Berlusconi is accused of paying for sex with Karima El Mahroug, a young Moroccan former nightclub dancer who went by the stage name 'Ruby Heartstealer', before she was 18 and of allegedly abusing his power in a bid to cover up the affair. "We have no doubt that Ruby prostituted herself," Boccassini said. El Mahroug and Berlusconi have both said they never had sex during several of the ex-premier's so-called Bunga Bunga parties while she was underage. As well as facing three years in jail for sex with an alleged underaged prostitute, Berlusconi could be sentenced to a further 12 years for abusing his position as premier to spring Ruby from a Milan police station, supposedly to avoid a diplomatic incident with Egypt. Berlusconi said he intervened because he genuinely believed at the time that El Mahrough was a relative of former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, as she had told him. Prosecutors have produced phone records allegedly proving El Mahrough stayed at Berlusconi's villa several times in April-May 2010, when she was 17. Prostitutes can work legally in Italy from 18 on. Prosecutors say Berlusconi had sex with 33 other alleged prostitutes at his villa over the course of several evenings. The ex-premier describes the young women, mostly aspiring starlets, as friends who have been maligned. Berlusconi, who says his parties were innocent and "elegant" affairs, has quipped "33 women in two months is too many even for someone who likes pretty girls, like me". He claims to be the victim of biased prosecutors who have allegedly been conducting a witch-hunt against him since he entered politics in 1994.

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