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'Terrified' teenagers tell of bunga-bunga party ordeal

Silvio Berlusconi encouraged two 18-year-old models to take part in an "indecent" game with a statue of the fertility god Priapus, it was claimed yesterday.

In some of the most lurid evidence to emerge from the scandal engulfing the Italian prime minister, the two women said they were so shocked by what they witnessed at one of his so-called 'bunga-bunga' parties that they demanded to be taken home.

They were allegedly told by one of Mr Berlusconi's closest associates: "If you want to go, fine, but you can forget about entering Miss Italy or becoming TV weather girls."

Chiara Danese and Ambra Battilana are not among the 33 women who prosecutors allege prostituted themselves with the prime minister during wild parties at his mansion outside Milan, Villa San Martino.

They said they decided to give evidence because, since attending one of the gatherings, they had been labelled as "escorts" in their home towns in Piedmont, north-west Italy.

According to transcripts of the questioning published by the Italian media, they told investigators that they were invited to a party on August 22 last year after being spotted at beauty contests by Emilio Fede, a presenter on one of Mr Berlusconi's television channels.

The women claimed that Mr Fede (79) offered to secure them jobs as television weather girls earning €5,000 a week.

He is one of three people under investigation for allegedly procuring prostitutes for the premier.

According to the girls, about a dozen women attended the evening, with the 74-year-old prime minister addressing them as "my babies".

They allegedly included showgirls whose names appear in the investigation, in which Mr Berlusconi is accused of abuse of office and paying for the sexual services of an under-age prostitute, a Moroccan-born nightclub dancer known as 'Ruby the Heart Stealer'.

Once dinner was over, women allegedly started dancing, stripping, and kissing Mr Berlusconi and Mr Fede. They also touched them "in their intimate parts", according to the girls.

Later Mr Berlusconi brought in a statuette. "He walked between the girls and asked them to kiss it. They were all laughing," claimed Ms Danese.

The PM then allegedly said: "Are you ready to bunga bunga?" to which the women shouted, "Yes!".

The teenagers said they were then led to a room "like a disco, with a pole-dancing stage".

"Berlusconi and Fede were encouraging the girls, saying 'Come on, strip, take off your clothes, dance'," Ms Danese said.

"At this point we were terrified."

Mr Berlusconi's lawyers said the teenagers' accounts were "totally without foundation".

In a separate development yesterday, Italy's lower chamber of parliament approved legislation that could cut the length of trials in Italy and effectively end a separate bribery case against Mr Berlusconi.

The bill's approval led to protests inside and outside the chamber. It now goes to the Senate, where Mr Berlusconi's coalition has a majority. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent