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AP Photo/Shane McMillan
Italy

Italian prosecutors claim Berlusconi slept with several prostitutes

Investigation into allegations the Italian premier had sex with a 17-year-old dancer widens as new claims brought forward.

ITALIAN PROSECUTORS SEEKING ACCESS to Silvio Berlusconi’s homes have claimed the Italian prime minister had sex with several prostitutes.

Authorities are investigating allegations Berlusconi paid for sex with a 17-year-old dancer at a party at one of his properties last year and then used his office to cover it up, the Global Post reports.

Karima El Mahroug, now 18, claims she was among a number of young women invited to Berlusconi’s villa outside Milan and that he gave her €7,000, but says she did not have sex with Berlusconi.

Berlusconi denies the allegations and says he has never paid for sex.

Prosecutors have applied for permission to search some of Berlusconi’s properties which they believe could contain documentary evidence he paid for sex or compensated the women by allowing them to stay at his apartments rent-free.

They are also investigating whether Berlusconi interferred with El Mahroug’s detention after she was held by police on suspicious of theft.

She was later released into the care of Nicole Minetti, formerly Berlusconi’s dental hygienist, who is also under investigation for allegedly helping procure prostitutes, the BBC reports. Minetti denies the allegations.

Prostitution is not illegal in Italy, but paying for sex with a prostitute under 18 years of age or organising prostitution are crimes.

Berlusconi has been acquitted in eight corruption trials since 1994, and recently scraped through a parliamentary confidence vote in his premiership.

Last week, Italy’s constitutional court ruled that a law which prevented Berlusconi from being prosecuted in criminal cases was partially invalid, meaning the beleaguered prime minister could be brought before the courts in three criminal cases involving his media companies.

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