Witness: Berlusconi Paid Ruby for Sex Services, PartiesWorld | December 12, 2011, Monday // 20:28| views
Left: A file photo dated 20 July 2011 of Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi in the lower house of parliament in Rome, Italy. Right: A File photo dated 11 November 2011 shows Karima el Mahroug, nicknamed `Ruby`, attending a party at a Genoa disco. EPA/BGNES
There is evidence that former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi paid Moroccan dancer known as "Ruby" for sexual services at sex parties, according to a key witness in Berlusconi's trial.
Telephone conversations and other evidence indicated that the then underage Moroccan prostitute Karima el Mahroug "performed sexual acts for payment" at parties hosted by then Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, a police detective told a court in Milan on Monday, as cited by DPA.
The detective, Marco Ciacci, testified in a trial in which the 75-year-old Berlusconi stands accused of paying Karima el Mahroug - also known as "Ruby, Stealer of Hearts" - for sex when she was 17 years old and hence underage in terms of Italy's prostitution laws.
Berlusconi himself – who was the Prime Minister of Italy until November – did not attend Monday's court hearing.
According to detective Ciacci, Ruby's role at dinners held at Berlusconi's villa in Arcore, near Milan, had been revealed through "intercepted conversations and telephone wire tappings," including between Ruby and her boyfriend.
Some of these conversations took place in October 2010, when the investigation into the so-called Ruby case was first made public by the media, Ciacci told the court.
Ciacci did not specify if Ruby had performed any sexual acts with Berlusconi.
Last week, he told the court that at least three women - including Ruby - from a list of 33 who attended Berlusconi's parties were prostitutes.
The police detective is the first of over 200 witnesses due to give testimony in the trial, which began in April, DPA reminds.
Proceedings have been repeatedly adjourned following a series of short hearings. Berlusconi, who resigned as premier on November 12, had in the past cited political engagements as preventing him from appearing in court.
In the case, prosecutors also accuse Berlusconi of abusing his position as premier to cover up his liaison with Ruby. He denies any wrongdoing.
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