Berlusconi 'believed girl was grand-daughter of Mubarak'
Silvio Berlusconi believed a teenage nightclub dancer when she told him she was the granddaughter of the then Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, a court in Milan heard yesterday.
His lawyers insisted he was convinced by the improbable story and intervened to have a theft charge against the young woman dropped in May 2010 because he feared her detention could cause a diplomatic incident between Rome and Cairo.
Mr Berlusconi (75) put pressure on police in Milan to have the teenager, Karima El Mahroug, who is of Moroccan rather than Egyptian origin, released from custody.
The defence said that as soon as he realised that Ms El Mahroug's claim was false, he broke off all contact with her.
Mr Berlusconi, who resigned last month, is on trial for abuse of office and paying for sex with an under-age prostitute. Prosecutors allege that Ms El Mahroug, better known by her stage name 'Ruby the Heart Stealer', was selling herself for sex at the age of 17, a year below the age threshold at which prostitution is legal in Italy.
Both she and Mr Berlusconi deny they had a sexual relationship. (© Daily Telegraph, London)