Berlusconi’s wiretapped conversations released ahead of trial

April 6th, 2011 - 1:42 pm ICT by ANI  

London, April 6 (ANI): Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s wiretapped conversations that reveal his worries over the age of the teenage erotic dancer he is accused of paying for sex have been released ahead of his trial.

The 74-year-old, who has refused to attend the opening of the trial in Milan, was recorded discussing the age of the young woman, Karima El Mahroug, who goes by the stage name Ruby the Heart Stealer, reports the Telegraph.

In the first of three released, he supposedly speaks with Nicole Minetti, an Anglo-Italian former showgirl and dental hygienist whom Berlusconi propelled into politics as a member of Lombardy’s regional council.

In the exchange, recorded on Aug 1 last year, Minetti, 25, warns that a public prosecutor wants to quiz her about Berlusconi’s relationship with Moroccan-born Ruby.

According to the transcript, a worried-sounding Berlusconi allegedly said: “OK, what is important is that there are various people who can vouch for the fact that (Ruby) gave an age different to her real one.

“Once that happens, there’ll be nothing more to say. We just helped her because we took pity on her. Let’s hope that it doesn’t turn into a mess.”

Prosecutors claim that he paid her for sexual relations on 13 occasions when she was working as a 17-year-old escort - a year below the legal age of prostitution in Italy - and that he then tried to cover up the relationship through an abuse of office.

If the court in Milan finds him guilty, he could be sent to jail for up to 15 years. If he receives a sentence longer than five years, he would be barred from ever again holding public office.

But legal experts say the under age prostitution charge will be hard to prove because both he and Ruby deny having sex. (ANI)

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