Berlusconi trial: Former PM accused of sex with underage prostitute - FOCUS 06/24/2013

A Milan court is to decide on Monday whether former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi paid for sex with an underage prostitute known as "Ruby" and abused his powers to cover it up. The former prime minister faces up to six years in jail. FOCUS 06/24/2013 An Italian court is expected to deliver its verdict Monday on whether former premier Silvio Berlusconi paid for sex with an underage prostitute and abused his official powers. --- Prosecutors in Milan have called for the three-time former premier to be banned from politics for life and serve six years in jail in a case which has embarrassed both Berlusconi and his allies. While a guilty verdict would not mean prison -- no sentence would be enforced until the appeals process has been exhausted -- it could be a blow humiliating enough to weaken his political influence. The trial relates to crimes allegedly committed in 2010 when Berlusconi, 76, was prime minister, and revolves around what prosecutors say were erotic parties held at his luxury residence outside Milan. Berlusconi is accused of paying for sex on several occasions with Moroccan-born Karima El-Mahroug, a then 17-year-old exotic dancer and busty glamour girl nicknamed "Ruby the Heart Stealer". But in what the prosecution considers a far more serious charge, he is also accused of having called a police station to pressure for El-Mahroug's release from custody when she was arrested for theft. His defence claims he believed El-Mahroug was the niece of former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak and wanted to avoid a diplomatic incident, but prosecutors say it was a bid to conceal their liaison. An exclusive in-depth report from a FRANCE24 correspondent, followed by comment and analysis with the author and the anchor in the newsroom in Paris. FRANCE 24 INTERNATIONAL NEWS 24/7

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