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Ex-aides to Silvio Berlusconi on trial for allegedly procuring prostitutes.

Last updated: May 18. 2013 12:26AM - 893 Views

Karima el-Mahroug is escorted outside Milan's court Friday after testifying at the trial of three former Silvio Berlusconi aides accused with procuring prostitutes.
Karima el-Mahroug is escorted outside Milan's court Friday after testifying at the trial of three former Silvio Berlusconi aides accused with procuring prostitutes.
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MILAN — Silvio Berlusconi’s private disco featured not only aspiring showgirls performing striptease acts as sexy nuns and nurses, but one woman dressed up as President Barack Obama and a prominent Milan prosecutor whom the billionaire media mogul has accused of persecuting him, according to the first public sworn testimony by the Moroccan woman at the center of the scandal.


Karima el-Mahroug’s testimony Friday at the trial of three former Berlusconi aides accused with procuring her and other women for prostitution confirms a sexually charged atmosphere at the “bunga bunga” parties of the then-sitting premier. The trial is separate from the one in which Berlusconi is charged with paying for sex with a minor — el-Mahroug when she was 17 — and trying to cover it up.


El-Mahroug, now 20, said she attended about a half-dozen parties, using her nickname Ruby, and that after each, Berlusconi handed her an envelope with up to $3,900. She said she later received cash from the then-premier paid through an intermediary — money that she told Berlusconi she wanted to use to open a beautician salon despite having no formal training.


But she denied that Berlusconi had ever given her $6.43 million. She said she told acquaintances and even her father that she was going to receive such a large sum “as a boast,” but that it was a lie to make her seem more important.


The three Berlusconi aides — Emilio Fede, an executive in Berlusconi’s media empire; Nicole Minetti, a former dental hygienist, showgirl and local politician, and talent agent Dario “Lele” Mora — are accused of recruiting women for prostitution at the parties and abetting prostitution, including of a minor. They deny the charges.


El-Mahroug has made carefully orchestrated statements to the media since the scandal broke, but has never publicly given sworn testimony.


Both she and Berlusconi deny having had sex.


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