Sunday 4 December 2016

Ruth Dudley Edwards: Sinner Silvio is a true guilty pleasure

In these dark times, Berlusconi's dramas are far more engrossing than our own, writes Ruth Dudley Edwards

Published 13/02/2011 | 05:00

Heartstealer: Karima El Mahroug is linked to Berlusconi. Photo: Reuters
Heartstealer: Karima El Mahroug is linked to Berlusconi. Photo: Reuters

I JUST can't stay away from Silvio Berlusconi. And no, it's not because he's been offering me wads of money or a government ministry in exchange for my company at his Milan villa.

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I'm a realistic woman and I recognise I'm too old -- and have never been sufficiently luscious -- to meet his demanding criteria. But though last time I wrote about him I said if his priapic behaviour didn't bother the Italians, it was no business of ours, I'm enjoying his career too much to follow my own advice. These are dark times, we need all the entertainment we can get and the antics of 74-year-old Signor ('I-sometimes-am-a-sinner') Berlusconi are too priceless to ignore.

Now I fully realise that Rubygate is a serious matter. The prime minister is upset that there are attempts to charge him with having an illegal relationship with Karima El Mahroug, the Moroccan belly-dancer better known as Ruby Rubacuori (Ruby the Heartstealer). Apparently, in Italy it's okay to have sex with a 14-year-old girl, but if you pay her you have to wait till she's 18, and Ruby was only 17 when she began attending Silvio's bunga-bunga parties.

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