Ruby denies receiving five million euros from Berlusconi

Former dancer testifies about relationship during pimping trial

Ruby denies receiving five million euros from Berlusconi

Milan, May 17 - The former dancer at the centre of a sex scandal involving ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi on Friday denied reports that he gave her as much as five million euros. Karima El Mahroug, a young Moroccan former nightclub dancer who went by the stage name Ruby, said earlier in the day that Berlusconi "always" gave her envelopes of cash. But he "did not ever give me five million, nor ever promised" that amount, El Mahroug said during her testimony at the trial of three people accused of pimping for the ex-premier. The prosecution in a related trial against Berlusconi has said that his bank withdrawals between October and December 2010 were enough to "cover abundantly" a 4.5-million-euro figure mentioned in phone calls and notes involving payment to El Mahroug. The ex-premier has said he gave the young woman money because he wanted to help her to establish a business and gain her independence. Earlier Friday, El Mahroug said that when she first visited Berlusconi's villa in February 2010, he gave her an envelope with between 2,000 and 3,000 euros. "I was always given an envelope full of money," often in 500-euro bank notes, she testified. The alleged pimps on trial 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 younger than the legal age for prostitution at the time of the alleged sex parties hosted by Berlusconi in 2010.

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