Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

FOCUS

Campaigning against Bouteflika's re-election... in France

Read more

WEB NEWS

Chile: Online mobilization to help Valparaiso fire victims

Read more

ENCORE!

Art, sex, money, memory and manga

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Spat over Iran's UN ambassador hampers thawing relations with US

Read more

FOCUS

China trade deal: Is Taiwan's identity under threat?

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'Call it a caretaker government'

Read more

DEBATE

Nigeria's Battles

Read more

DEBATE

Nigeria's Battles (part 2)

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Pornography without borders is key benefit of EU, says French MEP

Read more

  • US rolls out red carpet for French critic of capitalism

    Read more

  • Pro-Russia separatists ‘seize’ Ukrainian armoured vehicles

    Read more

  • Belgian head of wildlife reserve shot in eastern Congo

    Read more

  • Rescue effort under way as ferry sinks off S. Korean coast

    Read more

  • France's new PM targets welfare in drive to cut spending

    Read more

  • North Korea not amused by London hair salon's Kim Jong-un ad

    Read more

  • Brazil club Mineiro cancel Anelka signing after no-show

    Read more

  • Syria 'torture' photos silence UN Security Council members

    Read more

  • Paris laboratory loses deadly SARS virus samples

    Read more

  • More than 100 schoolgirls kidnapped in northeast Nigeria

    Read more

  • New York police disband unit targeting Muslims

    Read more

  • 'Miracle girl' healthy after seven-organ transplant in Paris

    Read more

  • Paris police memo calling for Roma eviction ‘rectified’

    Read more

  • Burgundy digs into France's bureaucratic 'mille-feuille'

    Read more

  • French court drops ‘hate speech’ case against Bob Dylan

    Read more

  • Algeria rights crackdown slammed ahead of election

    Read more

  • Iraq closes notorious Abu Ghraib jail over security fears

    Read more

  • Berlusconi sentenced to community service for tax fraud

    Read more

  • In ‘Tom at the Farm’, Xavier Dolan blends Hitchcock and homoeroticism

    Read more

  • US to mark one year since Boston Marathon bombing

    Read more

  • India's Supreme Court establishes third gender category

    Read more

Europe

Prosecutors to probe Berlusconi underage sex allegations

©

Video by Catherine VIETTE

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-01-15

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has come under investigation for his relationship with a 17-year-old girl known as “Ruby”, one day after the Constitutional Court partially rejected a law granting him immunity from prosecution.

AFP - Italian magistrates opened an enquiry into the relationship between Silvio Berlusconi and a teenage girl on Friday as the prime minister was still reeling from a court ruling partially stripping him of political immunity.

The probe will consider whether Berlusconi had sexual relations with the girl named Ruby between February and May 2010, when she was still a minor, the public prosecutor's office said in a statement.

Berlusconi will also be investigated for allegedly abusing his position of power on a night in May when he told police in Milan to free Ruby after she had been picked up for an alleged theft.

The scandal has been dubbed "Rubygate" by the Italian media.

The Corriere della Sera daily said the prime minister attempted "to hide the fact that he was a client of an underaged prostitute over several weekends at Arcore", his residence near Milan.

He wanted to ensure impunity for himself and prevent the details of parties in his home being revealed, it said.

ANSA news agency meanwhile said Berlusconi had been summoned to appear before a court, without giving a date.

The 72-year-old media mogul, a notorious womaniser, admits that he is "no saint" but has said he never paid for sex. He denies having had sexual relations with Ruby, whose real name is Karima El Mahroug.

Berlusconi lawyers Piero Longo and Niccolo Ghedini also rejected the allegations, calling the "new enquiry so absurd and unfounded that it would not even deserve a comment".

"The speculations have already been widely denied by the witnesses and those directly involved," they said in a statement.

The allegations are "a very serious interference in the private life of the head of government, which has no precedent in the country's legal history", they added.

Ruby, who turned 18 in November, claims she has been to parties in the prime minister's villa near Milan but also denies having sex with Berlusconi.

Interviewed by the Repubblica daily on Friday, the Moroccan girl said she had been to Arcore just three times for "normal dinners" and thought the prime minister was "lonely and unhappy".

The billionaire prime minister is already under scrutiny for organising parties with young women who are allegedly paid 5,000 euros (7,000 dollars) for the evening, according to media reports.

Italy's top court on Thursday opened the way for corruption trials involving Berlusconi to resume after modifying a temporary immunity law that has shielded him.

Before the enquiry was announced on Friday, Berlusconi had said he was a victim of "political persecution on the part of left-wing magistrates".

The Corriere della Sera daily said on its website that police had searched the offices of Berlusconi associates, including a regional councillor and Giuseppe Spinelli, a close aide who manages some of the prime minister's assets.

A former call-girl, Nadia Macri, 28, said in November she had attended at least three of Berlusconi's parties, and described a selection process of young girls who were picked up on the street.
 

Date created : 2011-01-14

  • ITALY

    Underage bellydancer at centre of latest Berlusconi scandal

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)