Blame the press

Dancer Karima El-Mahroug interacts with the media.
Dancer Karima El-Mahroug interacts with the media.

ROME — Dancer Karima El-Mahroug – known as “Ruby Heartstealer” – has staged a protest outside a court in Italy to deny claims she was paid for having sex with former PM Silvio Berlusconi.

“I’m not a prostitute. I’ve never had sex with Silvio Berlusconi,” she said in a statement read outside the court.

She is upset over the Milan court’s decision not to hear her testimony in the case against the former prime minister.

He denies paying for sex with her in 2010 when she was aged just 17.

Having sex with a female who is under 18 is a crime in Italy.

The billionaire media mogul is on trial in Milan on charges of paying for sex with an underage prostitute and abuse of power. He has admitted sending Mahroug money, but insists the funds were meant as a gift for friend in need.

In what was described as an emotionally charged public statement on the court steps, Mahroug said that she had not had a chance to tell the truth in relation to the allegations against her.

She said that instead only things that she had told investigators before the trial have been taken into account during proceedings against Berlusconi.

“The press hurt me to hit Berlusconi,” she said. “I realise that it is an ongoing war against [him] and I have been involved. But I don’t want my life to be destroyed.”

Moroccan-born Mahroug complained that the judges’ decision not to allow her to testify in the case amounted to “psychological violence”.

She did, however, admit to pretending to be related to former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

Berlusconi may have believed this untrue assertion, because on one occasion he is alleged to have phoned officers and urged them to release the grand-daughter of Egypt’s president from detention.

Prosecutors say Mahroug and Berlusconi had sex on 13 occasions.

In January Mahroug arrived at the trial to give testimony for the defence. Officials say she had been called twice before, but failed to show up, apparently because she was on holiday in Mexico.

Berlusconi stepped down from a third term as prime minister in November 2011, when he was replaced by the technocrat Mario Monti. (BBC)

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