Milan

El Mahroug tells pimping trial she dreams of own beauty shop

Berlusconi says cash for Ruby was to help her enter business

El Mahroug tells pimping trial she dreams of own beauty shop

Milan, May 13 - Opening a beauty salon was a "dream" that ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi helped her to achieve with a multi-million euro cash gift, the former exotic dancer Ruby testified Friday. Karima El Mahroug, who went by the stage name Ruby, said that although things did not go well when she tried working in a salon in the city of Messina, she still craved economic independence and her own shop. "That's always been my dream," she testified at the trial of three people accused of pimping on behalf of Berlusconi. The accused are retired TV anchorman and close Berlusconi friend Emilio Fede, bankrupt ex-talent scout Lele Mora and Nicole Minetti, an ex-Lombardy regional councillor and the ex-premier's former dental hygienist. The trio are charged with the alleged procurement of prostitutes, including Ruby, who was one year below the legal age for prostitution at the time of the alleged sex parties hosted by Berlusconi in 2010. At previous trials, it was disclosed that Berlusconi gave El Mahroug as much as 4.5 million euros, which he said was to help her start a business. At a separate trial, prosecutors say the woman was a prostitute and the money was in payment from Berlusconi.

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