Prosecutor seeks six years for Berlusconi ‘for using underage prostitute’
Verdict not due until June 23rd
Former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi is accused of “involvement in underage prostitution” and “abuse of office”. Photograph: Reuters
In yet another Milan court hearing involving former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, state prosecutor Ilda Boccassini yesterday called for the media tycoon to be sentenced to six years in prison and banned permanently from public office.
Ms Boccassini called for the sentence during her summing up at the end of the so-called Rubygate trial, in which Mr Berlusconi is accused of “involvement in underage prostitution” and “abuse of office”.
In a lengthy address, the prosecutor claimed Mr Berlusconi had paid Karima “Ruby” El Mahrough for sex when she was 17, in other words under age. Ms Boccassini also claimed Mr Berlusconi had abused his position as prime minister on May 27th, 2010, when he had pressurised a Milan police station to release Ms Mahrough, then detained on theft charges.
The prosecutor said wire taps, bank statements and documents in Ms Mahrough’s possession proved that Mr Berlusconi had paid her some €4.5 million. She also said there was a “huge body of evidence” to prove that before Ms Mahrough began to attend so-called “bunga bunga” parties at Mr Berlusconi’s Arcore mansion in spring 2010, she had worked as a prostitute.
Furthermore, Ms Boccassini asked, how was it that a 17-year-old Moroccan immigrant from humble origins was shopping in the most expensive fashion outlets in Milan in spring 2010? Ms Mahrough also regularly paid for purchases with €500 notes.
Ms Boccassini argued that Ms Mahrough’s mobile phone records proved beyond doubt that she spent much time in spring 2010 in the Arcore area, where Mr Berlusconi’s San Martino villa is located.
“The girls invited to Arcore were part of a system of prostitution organised for the sexual pleasure of Silvio Berlusconi . . . There can be no doubt that Karima El Mahrough had sex with Berlusconi and in return she received all sorts of benefits,” said Ms Boccassini.
As for the May 2010 night when Ms Mahrough was released from custody following pressure from Mr Berlusconi, who claimed she was the granddaughter of then Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, the prosecution was sceptical. Ms Boccassini argued that the “real objective” of her release was to defend Mr Berlusconi.
Defence summing up is scheduled for June 3rd.