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'Bunga bunga' guests talked about soccer – Berlusconi

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Karima El Mahroug - better known as Ruby - denied having sex with Silvio Belusconi

Karima El Mahroug - better known as Ruby - denied having sex with Silvio Belusconi

Silvio Berlusconi

Silvio Berlusconi

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Karima El Mahroug - better known as Ruby - denied having sex with Silvio Belusconi

FORMER Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi's defence denied yesterday that there were any erotic escapades at dinners at his villa near Milan and accused the court of bias against the media mogul.

Nicolo Ghedini said that Berlusconi neither paid for sex with an underage teen, nor exerted pressure on police officials in an effort to cover it up.

The trial is in its final stage, with a verdict expected later this month.

Both Berlusconi and the woman, Karima el-Mahroug, who is now 20 and was 17 at the time, deny ever having had sex.

Ghedini said most prosecution witnesses who described scenes of sexual excess during the parties were not there between February 2010 and May 2010 when el-Mahroug – better known as Ruby – attended dinners at the villa.

 

TESTIMONY

Defence witnesses described 'normal' dinners during which participants chatted about soccer and denied any sexual encounters with Berlusconi.

"We have 25 witnesses give more or less similar accounts of the evenings," Ghedini said.

Ghedini also said the judges hearing the case were "culturally similar" to prosecutors, whom he has accused of waging a campaign against Berlusconi with the goal of removing him from politics.

Berlusconi's defence tried to move the sex trial and a tax fraud case to Brescia, arguing that Milan magistrates are biased against Berlusconi.

Neither Berlusconi nor el-Mahroug have testified at the prostitution trial, but Ghedini asked the court to enter as evidence testimony that she gave in a separate trial of three former Berlusconi aides accused of procuring prostitutes for the now infamous 'bunga bunga' parties at Berlusconi's villa.

In sworn testimony, el-Mahroug denied sex with Berlusconi or of witnessing sexually charged scenes.

She did say she received envelopes with several thousand euros as gifts every time she attended a party, plus an additional €30,000 to open a beauty salon.

Prosecutors are seeking a six-year sentence and lifetime ban from public office, a sentence Ghedini called "stratospheric and extraordinary".

hnews@herald.e


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