Berlusconi to face trial over 'bunga bunga' sex party bribes

2017-04-05 19:12
Former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi. (Filippo Monteforte, AFP)

Former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi. (Filippo Monteforte, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Rome - Italy's former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi will go on trial in July accused of witness tampering and pay-offs over his alleged "bunga bunga" sex parties, a court ruled on Wednesday.

At a preliminary hearing in Milan, a judge decided that Berlusconi's case should be integrated into the parallel trial of 22 young starlets and close allies accused of taking bribes from the media magnate, which will begin on July 3.

The ex-premier is accused of paying more than €10m ($10.7m) between 2011 and 2015, in cash, gifts, cars and housing to guests at his Arcore residence near Milan, to testify in his favour in the so-called "Ruby" affair.

The charges stem from Berlusconi's previous trial for allegedly paying for sex with young women, the best-known being an exotic dancer nicknamed Ruby the Heart Stealer, who was under 18 at the time.

Berlusconi was initially convicted and sentenced to seven years in jail for soliciting minors for prostitution and abusing his power.

Frustrated prosecutors

But he was cleared in 2015 following an appeal. The judge said he could not have known that Ruby - real name Karima El-Mahroug - was a minor.

Prosecutors suspect the 80-year old tycoon bought the silence of those involved, but Berlusconi has said his lavish gifts were simple benevolence and his lawyers insisted they had "around 80 witnesses" ready to testify to his "altruistic" generosity.

El-Mahroug allegedly received gifts worth €7m.

She testified that she did not have sex with Berlusconi, claiming she was lying when recorded on a wiretap telling friends the contrary.

Frustrated prosecutors emerged from that trial determined to prove that many witnesses had lied under oath after being bought off.

Billionaire businessman Berlusconi has beaten numerous criminal charges over the years with his only conviction to date being one for corporate tax fraud, which led to him being kicked out of parliament.

Even if convicted, there is little chance of Berlusconi ending up behind bars because of Italy's restrictions on penal sanctions against the elderly.

Berlusconi remains the leader of his Forza Italia party but, with its fortunes on the decline, his political influence has waned.

Read more on:    silvio berlusconi  |  italy

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/World
 

Makeover saves dog’s life

Lucky Charlie got a complete make-over that helped him get adopted.

 
 

Paws

For the love of Corgis!
Can we communicate with our pets?
8 great natural remedies for your pet
Buying a puppy? Don’t get scammed!
Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.