Berlusconi should never have been convicted, says Ruby
Ruby the Heart Stealer, the erotic dancer at the centre of the sex scandal that led to the downfall of Silvio Berlusconi, has said he should never have been convicted and did nothing wrong.
The showgirl, whose real name is Karima El-Mahroug, was speaking as the former Italian prime minister began an appeal against his prison sentence for paying for sex with an under age girl.
"The truth is that Mr Berlusconi respected me more than all the men I had met previously in my life in bars and nightclubs," Ms El-Mahroug told 'Il Giornale', the newspaper owned by the Berlusconi family.
"They gave him seven years for nothing."
The three-time prime minister was sentenced last year to seven years in jail and banned from holding public office for having sex with the then under-age Moroccan-born belly dancer at "bunga bunga" parties in his villa at Arcore near Milan.
Mr Berlusconi (77) was not present in court in Milan as he was doing community service at a hospice for a separate tax fraud conviction.
A definitive verdict from the court could mean the billionaire will no longer be eligible for community service and may instead be sentenced to house arrest.
Ms El-Mahroug, now aged 21, said that telephone taps, in which she had told her friends she had sexual relations with Mr Berlusconi, were a lie.
"I was only 17, I was adrift. I invented bulls**t to let off steam," she said. "The real problem is what happened later.
"When the prosecutors came to interrogate me they had no interest in me, they wanted only Mr Berlusconi at any cost and I gave them what they wanted."
Forty-five people are under investigation in the current appeal, including the billionaire businessman, his lawyers, Ms El-Mahroug and several other young women. (© Daily Telegraph, London)