Berlusconi party girl was a prostitute: policeman | world | Hindustan Times
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Berlusconi party girl was a prostitute: policeman

world Updated: Dec 02, 2011 21:59 IST
AFP
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An Italian policeman testified on Friday that the young woman at the centre of former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi's trial for paying for sex with an underage prostitute was indeed a sex worker.

"There is evidence" that nightclub dancer Karima El Mahroug, who has become better known by her stage name as "Ruby the Heart Stealer", was working as a prostitute, Marco Ciacci, a police investigator, told the court in Milan.

Ciacci also identified as prostitutes two other women out of the 33 called as witnesses by the prosecution in a trial in which the defence wants to call George Clooney and Cristiano Ronaldo to discredit El Mahroug's testimony.

El Mahroug told investigators she had met Hollywood actor Clooney at one of Berlusconi's parties and slept with football star Ronaldo for money. The two men both deny the claims.

Moroccan-born El Mahroug was just 17 when she first met the then premier.

She has always denied being a prostitute but has given conflicting accounts to investigators about whether or not she had sex with Berlusconi for money.

The age of consent in Italy is 14 and having sex with a prostitute is not illegal but paying for sex with someone who is under 18 is illegal.

If convicted, Berlusconi faces a maximum sentence of three years in prison on that charge and 12 years for abuse of power after he allegedly put pressure on the police to have El Mahroug released from custody in an unrelated case.

Prosecutor Antonio Sangermano on Friday also showed the court a series of pictures seized from El Mahroug in which she can be seen striking erotic poses. Sangermano said they showed El Mahroug's "involvement in prostitution".

The trial began earlier this year when Berlusconi was still in power but has been delayed for months by a number of motions put forward by his defence lawyers, as well as the slow-moving Italian judicial system.

Ciacci was the first witness called to testify in the trial.

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