Prosecutors to request Berlusconi trial over ‘Rubygate’


Milan : Prosecutors in Milan will Wednesday make a formal request that Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi immediately go on trial for allegedly having relations with an underage prostitute nicknamed ‘Ruby’.

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The request for a fast-track trial will be made Wednesday, chief prosecutor Edmondo Bruti Liberati told reporters Tuesday.

Liberati and the three members of his office involved in the case Tuesday held what he called “a conclusive meeting” to discuss if Berlusconi should also be sent to trial for abuse of office over the ‘Ruby’ case.

He said the case was separate from other probes, including another one involving prostitution being handled by prosecutors in the southern city of Naples.

Investigating magistrates in Milan accuse Berlusconi of paying Moroccan Karima El Mahroug, nicknamed Ruby the Heart Stealer, for sex.

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.

Paying for sex with a prostitute is not a crime in Italy, unless the prostitute is under 18.

The 74-year-old premier is also suspected by prosecutors of later using his office to improperly pressure police to have Mahroug released when she was detained on separate theft allegations.

If convicted of abuse of office, Berlusconi could be sentenced to up to 12 years in jail, while using an underage prostitute carries a maximum three-year prison term.
Berlusconi denies any wrongdoing and says he is the victim of a plot by left-wing magistrates.