Monday 26 August 2019

Berlusconi's 'Queen Bee' denies 'bunga bunga' charge

Silvio Berlusconi
Silvio Berlusconi

Nick Squires in Rome

A former model nicknamed the "Queen Bee" of Silvio Berlusconi's female entourage, tearfully denied in court accusations that she supplied prostitutes for the former Italian prime minister's 'bunga bunga' parties.

Sabina Began admitted yesterday she had a sexual relationship with Mr Berlusconi, describing him as a "boyfriend" who became a father figure to her.

Miss Began is one of seven people accused of recruiting escorts for Mr Berlusconi's parties at his residence in Rome during his third spell as prime minister.

She gave evidence to the trial in Bari, which has lasted for two years and is expected to conclude shortly. Mr Berlusconi (79) is not accused of any wrongdoing. The trial is not linked to that in which he was convicted, then acquitted on appeal, of paying for sex with a 17-year-old exotic dancer who called herself Ruby the Heart Stealer.

Prosecutors are calling for Miss Began, a German-born model and actress, to be jailed for three years.

They allege that she recruited women for the parties at Mr Berlusconi's palazzo in Rome in 2008 and 2009, at the height of the sex scandals that contributed to his downfall in 2011.

"Berlusconi was a wonderful man, marvellous. For me he was first a boyfriend and then like a father," Miss Began said in court, wiping away tears.

"I loved this man very much and I would have done anything for him. When you love someone you dedicate your life to them. I wanted to defend the prime minister. I even said I took part in bunga bunga but everyone knows that is not true."

She said she had arranged "many dinners" for Mr Berlusconi because she wanted to please him.

Mr Berlusconi is trying to relaunch his political career in time for the next election by teaming up his much-diminished centre-right Forza Italia party with the right-wing Northern League. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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