Prosecutors in Milan say they will ask that Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi stand trial on charges of under-age prostitution and abuse of power.
On Tuesday they met to finalise exactly which charges will be brought, whether they will be brought simultaneously and whether the trials are to be fast-tracked. Milan’s chief prosecutor confirmed that a finalised request will be delivered to judges.
Berlusconi is accused of paying for sex with a 17-year old Moroccan dancer known as “Ruby.” While paying for sex with a prostitute is not illegal in Italy is not illegal, paying for sex with a girl under the age of 18 is a crime. It is also alleged that Berlusconi personally intervened with the police when they detained the girl, suspecting her of theft.
The prosecution submitted documents last month that they claim prove Berlusconi made payments to Ruby, whose real name is Karima el-Mahroug, and other prostitutes. The documents also include witness statements and wire-tap transcripts that give details of so-called “bunga bunga” sex parties at Berlusconi’s villa near Milan. El-Mahroug admits she received cash gifts after the parties but denies they were payments for sex.
Berlusconi could go on trial as early as Easter. He denies the allegations against him and claims that politically-motivated left-wing judges are persecuting him.
Once judges receive the prosecutors’ request, they have five days to decide whether or not to indict the prime minister.