Berlusconi faces more sex allegations
Rome - Italian prosecutors investigating Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi over allegations he had sex with minors have linked him to a second under-aged girl, according to legal papers released on Thursday.
Documents submitted by prosecutors to a parliamentary committee on Wednesday said that Iris Berardi had been under-age when she visited at least two of Berlusconi's residences in November and December 2009, a news agency reported.
Berardi, born on December 29 1991, and described by prosecutors as a "well-known prostitute", had attended parties at his villas in Sardinia and near Milan, the report said.
Using the services of prostitutes is not a crime in Italy, but paying for sex with a girl under the age of 18 is illegal.
The latest allegations mark a fresh blow for the beleaguered premier, who is already facing allegations that he paid to have sex with an underage girl known as Ruby, whose real name is Karima El Mahroug.
Both she and Berlusconi have denied the allegations.
When Ruby was arrested last May for alleged theft, Berlusconi is said to have put pressure on police in Milan to release her.
He tried to laugh off the incident, saying simply: "I am a big-hearted man and I like to help those in need," but denying any attempt to improperly use his influence.
Milan prosecutors say they have evidence that Berlusconi paid money and provided free lodgings to many young women in return for sexual services at his residences.
Berlusconi has dismissed the allegations against him, accusing Italy's judges of conducting a personal campaign against him.
Milan's chief prosecutor, Edmonto Bruti Liberati, announced on Thursday that he was taking personal charge of the case, given its sensititivity.
Press coverage of the investigation based on leaked documents have included material that investigators culled from wiretaps of key suspects.
Comments by Nicole Minetti, a 25-year-old former dental assistant, who in early 2010 became a regional councillor for Berlusconi's party, have reportedly further implicated the Italian leader in the scandal.
Investigators are investigating allegations that she helped recruit under-age girls to attend Berlusconi's parties.
Milan magistrates submitted the new documents to bolster their demand for a special warrant to search various offices linked to Berlusconi.