Wednesday 1 March 2017

Berlusconi aides accused of recruiting prostitutes face trial

Ian Hunter in Milan

Silvio Berlusconi. Photo: Getty Images
Silvio Berlusconi. Photo: Getty Images

A Milan judge yesterday ordered three aides to premier Silvio Berlusconi to stand trial on charges they allegedly recruited a Moroccan girl and several women for prostitution.

Judge Maria Grazia Domanico confirmed the indictment of Emilio Fede, an executive in Mr Berlusconi's media empire; Nicole Minetti, a local politician and former showgirl, and talent agent Dario "Lele" Mora. All three have denied wrongdoing . The trial begins on November 21.

They are accused of recruiting women for prostitution and abetting prostitution, including of a minor.

Mr Berlusconi is being tried separately for allegedly paying for sex with the underage Moroccan teenager. He denies wrongdoing. Prostitution isn't a crime in Italy, but exploiting prostitutes or paying for sex with a minor is.

When prosecutors closed their investigation against the three aides earlier this year, they filed a document in which they alleged that Mr Berlusconi paid for sex with the Moroccan girl 13 times at his villa near Milan. They also alleged that sex-fuelled parties began with dinner, progressed to erotic dancing and culminated with Mr Berlusconi choosing a sex partner or partners.

Mr Berlusconi has publicly denied ever paying for sex. His wife, who is divorcing him, has cited his alleged dalliances.

Ms Minetti told reporters yesterday ahead of the indictment that she "didn't sleep because of the excitement. I'm falling apart."

Irish Independent

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