Berlusconi prostitution scandal

Italian prosecutors have alleged
that Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi had sex with a “significant
number” of young prostitutes.

In a request to search some of Mr
Berlusconi’s properties, they cited allegations that he had paid the women or
given them free use of apartments.

The prosecutors are investigating
whether Mr Berlusconi paid to have sex with a 17-year-old nightclub dancer.

Mr Berlusconi says he has never
paid for sex.

The document published on the website
of Italy’s lower house of parliament includes allegations that Nicole Minetti,
a former dental hygienist of Mr Berlusconi’s who is now a regional official,
was involved with several others in procuring the young prostitutes for the
prime minister.

It details claims that a number of
young women were put up in apartments in Milano Due, an American-style suburb
that Mr Berlusconi built during the 1970s.

Ms Minetti, who is under
investigation, has denied the accusations.

Prostitution is not a crime in
Italy, but paying for or helping arrange sex with a prostitute under the age of
18 is an offence.

Mr Berlusconi is also suspected of
abusing his power to have the 17-year-old dancer, Karima El Mahroug, freed from
a police cell.

The prime minister has previously
admitted calling the police on Ms El Mahroug’s behalf, but says he did nothing
wrong and acted out of pity.

Ms El Mahroug has denied having sex
with Mr Berlusconi, though she has said she received money from him.

She is widely known by her stage
name, Ruby Rubacuori – Ruby Heartstealer.

She says she gave her age as 24
when she attended a Valentine’s Day party at one of Mr Berlusconi’s houses last

Mr Berlusconi, 74, has been
embroiled in a series of sex scandals since separating from his second wife,
Veronica Lario.

He has denied any wrongdoing.