15 Feb 2011

Silvio Berlusconi faces Ruby sex charge trial in April

Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi has been indicted to stand trial on charges of paying for sex with an under-age prostitute and abuse of power. Examining judge Cristina Di Censo said the process would start on 6 April, after prosecutors in Milan asked for an immediate trial.


Mr Berlusconi denies paying for sex with Karima El Mahroug when she was 17. He also rejects claims that he abused his power by seeking her release when she was detained in another case.

He has called the accusations "groundless" and dismissed the case as a farce. Mr Berlusconi does, however, acknowledge that he called the police while she was being held on suspicion of theft. He said he was doing a favour for the then-Egyptian leader, Hosni Mubarak, because Mr Berlusconi was told the girl was Mr Mubarak's granddaughter.

If convicted, the prime minister could face up to 15 years in prison.

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