Probe into attempt to falsify Ruby's birth cert
Italian prosecutors have opened an investigation into a suspected attempt to falsify the birth records of the teenager at the centre of the underage sex scandal engulfing Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.
Judicial sources said the investigation had been opened against unknown individuals who were alleged to have tried to bribe a Moroccan official to change the birth records of Karima El Mahroug, better known under her stage name Ruby the Heartstealer.
Mr Berlusconi (74) has been charged with paying for sex with Ms El Mahroug last year when she was under the legal age limit of 18, and with abusing the powers of his office by intervening with police in a bid to cover up his connection with her.
His trial is scheduled to begin on April 6.
Mr Berlusconi has denied having sex with Ms El Mahroug, who has admitted receiving €7,000 from the premier. He has said he merely wanted to help someone in difficulty.
According to the left-wing newspaper 'Il Fatto Quotidiano', two Italian men approached a registry official in the Moroccan town of Fkih Ben Salah last month and offered her thousands of euro to change records showing Ms El Mahroug was born on November 1, 1992.
As well as denying he had ever had sex with Ms El Mahroug, Mr Berlusconi has also denied ever paying for sex with anyone.
Prosecutors allege that Mr Berlusconi, a billionaire, showered his female friends with jewellery and cash, as well as putting them up in rent-free flats, and splashing out €280,000 on cars as gifts for them.
The 13 vehicles included five
Minis, four Mercedes Smart cars, a €70,000 Land Rover and a Volkswagen Beetle.
Details of the presents emerged from evidence submitted by prosecutors after an investigation into an alleged prostitution ring surrounding the Italian prime minister.
Money for the gifts came directly from an account in Mr Berlusconi's name or indirectly through his accountant, according to prosecutors.