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Prostitution accusations against PM Berlusconi widen

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Prostitution accusations against PM Berlusconi widen

2011-01-18 10:24:22 GMT+7 (ICT)

MILAN, ITALY (BNO NEWS) -- Milan prosecutors on Monday said that the evidence against Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi in regards to the prostitution allegations against him have widened.

According to the ANSA news agency, prosecutors have sent a formal request to the Italian parliament, asking for permission to search the office of Berlusconi's accountant in relation to the allegations.

Berlusconi, 74, was placed under investigation last week for allegedly exploiting underage prostitution. The Italian leader is accused of having sex with a teenage runaway Moroccan belly dancer, identified as 'Ruby Rubacuore.'

"A significant number of young women prostituted themselves with Silvio Berlusconi at his residences in exchange for sums of money," the prosecutors' request read. The document also informs that in addition to sums of money, the girls received free housing in the sumptuous villa owned by Berlusconi in a plush Milan district. The girl was 17 years old when the alleged acts took place.

Ruby told investigators that she was at Berlusconi's villa at least eight times between February and May 2010. The Italian PM has denied the allegations and added that he has not paid for sex.

The teenager Moroccan dancer admitted attending three parties at Berlusconi's residence outside of Milan and said she received in return 7,000 euros (around $9,400) from him, but denied having sex with the PM.

Under Italian law, paying a minor for sex carries a sentence of three years in prison. Berlusconi said that the charges against him were part of a plot aimed at undermining his authority and damage his reputation.

Berlusconi said that he acted on behalf of Ruby as he believed she was the granddaughter of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. According to his lawyers, Ruby told him she was Mubarak's granddaughter and she was 23 years old.

On May 27, Ruby was caught by police and Berlusconi used his influence to get her released. The girl eventually went away with someone else, a Brazilian woman. She was later apprehended and revealed as 18-year-old Karima El Mahroug.

Since the Ruby-scandal, other prostitutes have claimed they attended other parties at Berlusconi's villa.

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-- © BNO News All rights reserved 2011-01-18

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