Prosecutors may widen Berlusconi sex probe

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Milan, Feb 8 (IANS/AKI) Investigators may expand the sex probe against Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi on grounds that a second young suspected prostitute might have spent the night in his villa in a Milan suburb.

Brazilian Iris Berardi may have attended Berlusconi’s parties and stayed overnight at the billionaire’s villa in Arcore Dec 12, 2009.

Paying for sex with a prostitute is not a crime in Italy, unless the prostitute is under 18 and Berardi was born Dec 29, 1991, which means she would have been 17 years old at the time of her alleged overnight visit.

Investigating judges in Milan accuse Berlusconi of paying Moroccan Karima El Mahroug, nicknamed Ruby the Heart Stealer, for sex and abuse of his office to get her released from police custody. Berlusconi denies any wrongdoing and says he is the victim of a plot by left-wing magistrates.

Mahroug, who turned 18 in November, has denied having sex with the prime minister when she was 17. She admitted to accepting a “gift” of 7,000 euros after attending a party held by the head of Italy’s government last year.

The 74-year-old premier has resisted calls for his resignation by political opponents and says that he has enough support in parliament to finish his 5-year mandate which runs until 2013.

Milan prosecutors have still not decided how they will proceed against Berlusconi and for the timebeing will probably prosecute him only for abuse of office.

Sources at the Milan prosecutors office said they want to “close the case as soon as possible”, but have run into legal problems related to separating the abuse-of-office and prostitution cases.


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