5 March 2013, 21:09

Berlusconi fails to turn up for questioning in alleged bribery case

Berlusconi fails to turn up for questioning in alleged bribery case

Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi did not turn up for interrogation on Tuesday over the alleged bribing of Senator Sergio Gregorio.

Berlusconi is accused of having paid Gregorio 3 million euros in 2007 in exchange for dropping support for the then government of Romano Prodi.

Earlier, Gregorio, who is facing embezzlement charges, confessed to taking money from Berlusconi.

Prosecutors accuse Berlusconi of hosting ‘prostitution parties’

Italy’s embattled ex-PM has been accused of throwing “prostitution parties” and paying women with cash and favors, media say. Mr. Berlusconi is standing trial over engaging in “intimate relations” with an underage Moroccan exotic dancer better known as “Ruby Heartstealer.” A verdict may come later this month.

Prosecutor Antonio Sangermano said “prostitution parties” were organized at the villa in northeastern Milan. They involved young TV starlets and invited guests willing to help their careers.

The prosecutor described these events as an “expression of a tried and tested prostitution system organized to satisfy the sexual pleasure of Silvio Berlusconi, and of which the young Moroccan girl was completely a part.”

Mr. Berlusconi denied ever having to pay for sex, saying: “I have had the twin fortune - perhaps deserved - of never having to pay a woman or girl for intimate relations and always being able to give assistance to whoever asked me for help.”

“Probably the prosecutor has had neither of these two 'fortunes' and he makes these assertions as if I were him,” he added.

If convicted, the flamboyant Italian politician may face up to 15 years in prison, although the trial can drag on much longer, considered Berlusconi’s right to appeal the court’s ruling twice.

Voice of Russia, BBC, TASS

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