Giovedì, 18 Ottobre 2018
MILAN

Ruby says 'never saw Berlusconi touch girls'

English
© ANSA

Milan, May 17 - A former Moroccan nightclub dancer
at the centre of Silvio Berlusconi's trial for allegedly paying
for sex with a minor on Friday told a trial of three alleged
pimps she had never seen the ex-premier touch any girls at his
supposed bunga bunga parties.
"The girls came close (to him) while they were doing their
sensual dances but I never saw any physical contact," Karima El
Mahrough told the trial of three Berlusconi associates.
El Mahrough, better known as Ruby because of her
former stage name Ruby Rubacuori (Ruby the Heartstealer) is
appearing as a witness and plaintiff in the trial of the trio.
The alleged pimps are retired TV anchorman and close
Berlusconi friend Emilio Fede, bankrupt ex-talent scout Lele
Mora and ex-Lombardy regional councillor and the ex-premier's
former dental hygienist Nicole Minetti.
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.
In the main trial, which is heading for a verdict at the end
of this month, a prosecutor has asked for six years in jail and
a life ban from public office for the ex-premier.
Ruby and Berlusconi deny having sex and she says the 4.5
million euros she got from him was a gift.
Ruby was prevented from testifying in the main trial, in
which a verdict is expected June 24, after a deal between the
defence and prosecution.
She staged an emotional protest against this on April 4,
accusing prosecutors of trying to enlist her in an alleged "war"
against the three-time premier.
Reiterating that she never had intercourse with the
76-year-old centre-right leader, El Mahrough, now 20, claimed
she was put through "psychological violence" by prosecutors
during investigations.
Prosecutors used an "investigative tactic that started out
friendly, but progressively changed when it was clear I would
not accuse Berlusconi," she said.
Breaking into tears, she said she had decided to end two
years of silence to defend herself, her family and especially
her daughter Sofia from "lies and prejudice".
She said she had created a "parallel identity" as a
relative of former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak because she
wanted a "different life".
As well as facing a year in jail for sex with an
alleged underaged prostitute, Berlusconi could be sentenced to a
further five years for abusing his position as premier to spring
Ruby from a Milan police station, supposedly to avoid a
diplomatic incident with Egypt.
He has stated he genuinely believed at the time that El
Mahrough was Mubarak's niece, as she had told him. The claim was
backed by parliament when it voted to put the case to the
Constitutional Court. Prosecutors argue he was trying to hush up
the affair.
In her protest, El Mahroug showed one of her old passports
in which the name Mubarak appears, saying she had added it so
she could falsely claim to be related to the former Egyptian
leader.
"I needed to introduce myself as Mubarak's niece to create
a life different than mine...with different origins, far away
from the poverty in which I was born and grew up, and the
suffering I went through before I left my family in Sicily," El
Mahroug said.
"I made a mistake and now I am paying the price... I'm
sorry. I committed a blunder when I said I was a relative of
Mubarak".
In January, El Mahroug appeared outside the Milan court,
but in a surprise move judges upheld a request by the defence to
not demand her testimony.
Instead the judges agreed to rely on statements El Mahroug
made to investigators in the case.
Earlier this month the supreme Cassation Court turned down
a defence motion to move the case - and a separate one where
Berlusconi has been sentenced to four years in jail and a
five-year public-office ban for tax fraud - to a court in
Brescia on alleged grounds of biased judges.
Prosecutors have produced phone records allegedly proving
El Mahrough stayed at Berlusconi's villa several times in
early 2010, when she was 17. Sex workers can ply their trade
legally in Italy from the age of 18.
Prosecutors say Berlusconi had sex with 33 other alleged
prostitutes at his villa over the course of several evenings.
The ex-premier describes the young women, mostly aspiring
starlets, as friends who have been maligned. He is still paying
them a monthly stipend at a large apartment complex in Milan.
Berlusconi, who says his parties were innocent and
"elegant" affairs, has quipped "33 women in two months is too
many even for someone who likes pretty girls, like me".
He claims to be the victim of biased prosecutors who have
allegedly been conducting a witch-hunt against him since he
entered politics in 1994.

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