Berlusconi ally drawn into teen prostitution inquiry
A high-profile Silvio Berlusconi political appointment has been drawn into a prostitution investigation involving a teenage Moroccan belly dancer.
Nicole Minetti (25) a model who was elected to Lombardy's regional assembly after catching the Italian prime minister's eye, reportedly helped the 17-year-old dancer, identified only as Ruby R, when she was questioned by police on theft.
It was also claimed that the teenager witnessed after-dinner sex sessions involving escorts and models at Mr Berlusconi's villa. The prime minister and his entourage reportedly described these as "bunga-bunga" parties, a reference to a bawdy joke.
The Moroccan claims she attended three dinners, during which Mr Berlusconi gave her gifts including cash. But it is now understood that she insists she did not have sexual intercourse with the prime minister. Prosecutors have said he is not accused of any crime or under investigation.
Miss Minetti confirmed that she knew the girl but had "nothing more to add". According to an investigation by 'La Repubblica', Miss Minetti was sent to help Ruby and met her when she was released by police in Milan. Miss Minetti also reportedly arranged for her to speak to the prime minister by phone.
Officers were instructed to release Ruby after reportedly being contacted by the prime minister's office. Members of Mr Berlusconi's staff allegedly told police that the teenager was the granddaughter of the Egyptian president.
Mr Berlusconi has dismissed reports about his alleged connection to Ruby as "media rubbish". But Emilio Fede, the head of Mr Berlusconi's TG4 channel, said he "might have seen" the teenager "a couple of times" at the prime minister's villa outside Milan. But Mr Fede said he had no knowledge of the investigation. (© Daily Telegraph, London)