Showgirl tells of 'night of love' with Silvio
Sabina Began, a German-born showgirl, has given a toe-curling account of how she first met Silvio Berlusconi, saying that he whispered in her ear and that "after a couple of hours I was smitten".
Sabina Began is one of eight people accused of recruiting prostitutes to attend parties at the Italian prime minister's private residences in Rome, Milan and Sardinia.
Nicknamed by the Italian press the "Queen Bee" of Mr Berlusconi's inner circle, she disclosed for the first time how she met the prime minister, who turns 75 today.
She told the Italian edition of 'Vanity Fair' that she fell for Mr Berlusconi and went to bed with him after being introduced to him in September 2005 at his villa on Sardinia's Costa Smeralda, to which she was flown from Rome in a private jet.
He first expressed an interest in her when they went for a walk around a small lake in the grounds of the multi-million pound villa complex.
"He was whispering in my ear, it was as if I was hypnotised," she told 'Vanity Fair'. "After a couple of hours I was smitten. I looked at the prime minister and said, 'I want to spend the night with you.'
"He was romantic, it was a marvellous night. I was in love. He's the only man who's made me feel like a woman."
Ms Began, who was born in Germany but forged a career in Italy as a topless model, is under investigation for allegedly helping to recruit around 30 showgirls and escorts for the prime minister's "bunga bunga" sex parties.
Ms Began denies the allegations.
Ms Began's account comes as prosecutors consider whether to bring charges against Mr Berlusconi on suspicion of inducing a businessman, Gianpaolo Tarantini (36), to lie on his behalf about the alleged prostitution ring.
Mr Tarantini is accused of being the ringleader of the ring.
The businessman has always insisted that Mr Berlusconi had no idea that the women who went so willingly to his soirees were prostitutes who were paid to attend.