Ruby received as much as 4.5 million euros, prosecution says

'Wiretaps, Berlusconi bank withdrawals prove it'

Ruby received as much as 4.5 million euros, prosecution says

(see related) Milan, May 13 - Evidence suggests that ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi likely paid more than 4.5 million euros to the young exotic dancer at the centre of a sex scandal, the prosecution said Monday. Wire taps that intercepted telephone calls, notes and bank withdrawals by Berlusconi all support the conclusion that he paid off Karima El Mahroug, a young Moroccan nightclub dancer who went by the stage name 'Ruby Heartstealer', prosecutor Ilda Boccassini told the court. Berlusconi stands accused of paying for sex with Ruby before she was 18, the legal age of prostitution in Italy, and of allegedly abusing his power in a bid to cover up the affair. 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. But Ruby lied for financial gain, said Boccassini, noting that Berlusconi's bank withdrawals between October and December 2010 were enough to "cover abundantly" the 4.5-million-euro figure mentioned in phone calls and notes involving Ruby. Berlusconi faces jail time not only on the charges of having sex with a minor, but also for allegedly abusing his position as premier to spring Ruby from a Milan police station in May 2010, supposedly to avoid a diplomatic incident with Egypt. According to the prosecutor, it was Berlusconi's "best interests" to get Ruby out of jail at that time, to try to ensure their sexual relationship remained secret.

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