Europe

'Ruby' Karima Mahroug 'lied' in Berlusconi sex case

  • 24 May 2013
  • From the section Europe
Karima El-Mahroug, the young woman whom Italian prosecutors allege PM Silvio Berlusconi paid for sex
Karima El-Mahroug attended several parties at Mr Berlusconi's villa in 2010

A dancer alleged to have had paid sex as a minor with Italy's ex-leader Silvio Berlusconi told a court that she had lied to investigators in 2010.

Karima El-Mahroug said she had "made up" details about erotic parties held at his villa while he was still PM.

She was testifying at the trial of three former Berlusconi aides accused of soliciting prostitutes for him.

Mr Berlusconi is being tried separately on charges of paying for underage sex with Ms El-Mahroug.

Both the dancer and Mr Berlusconi have denied the allegations.

Ms El-Mahroug is not charged with any crime in either case and is formally recognised in both as an injured party.

'Talked nonsense'

On Friday, she appeared as a witness at the trial of TV presenter Emilio Fede, celebrity agent Lele Mora and Nicole Minetti, a local councillor and former showgirl.

They are accused of providing prostitutes for Mr Berlusconi's so-called "bunga-bunga" party evenings.

Ms El-Mahroug, known as "Ruby the Heart Stealer", told the court she had lied about receiving 187,000 euros (£160,000) from Mr Berlusconi for attending several of his parties.

She said she "made up" the sum to show off.

The dancer also went back on testimony that young women had bathed naked at Mr Berlusconi's residence, saying they had only stripped off to their lingerie and there had been "no contact" with the ex-PM.

"I am sorry I talked nonsense when I spoke to prosecutors," said Ms El-Mahroug who is thought to have been aged 17 when she went to the parties.

"The majority of the things I said were not true."

Prosecutors are expected to make their closing statements on 31 May.

Meanwhile, a verdict in Mr Berlusconi's trial on charges of sleeping with an underage prostitute is due on 24 June.

Earlier this week, a prosecutor who requested a six-year sentence and a lifelong ban from office, said she received threats including a letter with two bullets.

Mr Berlusconi already faces a four-year prison sentence and five-year ban from public office for a fraud conviction.

He is expected to appeal against the verdict to Italy's highest court, the Court of Cassation.

Earlier this month Italian prosecutors requested a new corruption trial against Mr Berlusconi, saying he had allegedly bribed a left-wing senator to defect to his right-wing People of Freedom party (PDL) in 2006.

Mr Berlusconi claims he is the victim of a campaign by left-wing magistrates.