Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has publicly rejected claims by prosecutors that he paid to have sex 13 times with Karima El Mahroug, a then 17-year-old Moroccan girl also known as Ruby.
AFP - Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has rejected "shocking accusations" from an inquiry linking him to a alleged prostitution ring, saying women only came to dine and dance at his house.
"I can't believe that the justice system is being used in such a barbaric away and so far from reality," Berlusconi said in an interview with La Repubblica issued on Wednesday, a day after details of the inquiry were leaked.
"They were cheerful, elegant dinners. The women went for a little dance in the disco. On their own because I've never liked dancing," Berlusconi said.
"I will go on television to explain everything -- to defend myself and defend these women. And I will take part in all my trial hearings," he said.
Prosecutors investigating three Berlusconi associates for allegedly hiring prostitutes for the prime minister found the Italian leader had sex 13 times with a then 17-year-old starlet known as "Ruby the Heart Stealer".
The inquiry documents, which were published by Italian media, also said 33 women including Ruby were involved and it detailed orgies at his home near Milan in which women "touched or were touched intimately by Silvio Berlusconi."
The 74-year-old Berlusconi faces a separate trial starting on April 6 on charges of paying for sex with underage Ruby -- real name Karima El Mahroug -- and then using the power of his office to try and cover up the alleged crime.
Berlusconi and El Mahroug deny having sex and he has denied all charges.
The results of the inquiry revealed on Tuesday said the parties held at Berlusconi's villa involved "masks, stripteases and erotic dances" and the prime minister chose "one or more women for the night for intimate relations."
The Berlusconi associates under investigation are celebrity agent Lele Mora, television anchor Emilio Fede and Nicole Minetti, a former showgirl who is now a local lawmaker for Berlusconi's People of Freedom party in Milan.
Fede first spotted El Mahroug at a beauty contest in Sicily in 2009 when she was just 16, the inquiry documents were quoted as saying.
Fede and Mora "selected... young women who were open to prostituting themselves", while Minetti arranged transport and payments, it said.
Prosecutors have made a formal request that the three be put on trial.
Date created : 2011-03-16