Former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi has attended a hearing at a court in Milan investigating allegations he paid for sex with an underage prostitute, and abused his powers.
Berlusconi denied all the charges against him, insisting he never paid for sex with Karima El Mahroug, otherwise known as “Ruby”, who was underage at the time. He also claimed his fabled “bunga bunga” sex orgies were perfectly respectable dinner parties where everything happened “in front of staff, and at times my children”.
Responding to the abuse of power claim Berlusconi insisted that he phoned police to get Ruby released from custody on a theft charge because he believed she was the niece of then-Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. This was diplomacy he said, not exerting improper influence.
However Berlusconi, 76, is finding it harder to explain why a 17-year-old would have his private phone number.