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Bunga Bunga Trial: Silvio Berlusconi Guilty

Bunga Bunga Trial: Silvio Berlusconi Guilty

The former Italian prime minister is found guilty of paying for sex with an underage prostitute at his "bunga bunga" parties.

Karima El Mahroug of Morocco posing in Milan (l), and Italy's former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi waving in Brussels (r)
Silvio Berlusconi was found guilty of paying Karima El Mahroug for sex

Former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi has been found guilty of paying for sex with an underage prostitute.
The 76-year-old was sentenced to seven years in prison and banned from holding public office by a panel of three judges in Milan.
He previously denied having sex with Karima El Mahroug, also known as Ruby the Heart Stealer, after what prosecutors claimed were erotic "bunga bunga" parties at his Milan mansion in 2010.
His defence claimed he believed the dancer, who was 17 at the time, was the niece of former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak and wanted to avoid a diplomatic incident.
Silvio Berlusconi is accused to paying for sex with Karima El Mahroug, also known as Ruby the Heart Stealer
Miss El Mahroug denied having sex with Berlusconi when she was 17 years old
Berlusconi was also found guilty of abuse of office by arranging to have Miss El Mahroug, now 19, released from police custody when she was arrested on suspicion of theft.
His lawyer, Niccolo Ghedini, immediately announced an appeal, describing the sentence as "beyond reality".
Berlusconi has two levels of appeal and cannot be jailed until the process has been exhausted. Under the Italian justice system, that could take several years.
The verdict is likely to put further pressure on the current Italian prime minister Enrico Letta, whose fragile coalition government is supported by Berlusconi's People of Freedom party.
Silvio Berlusconi
Berlusconi has been involved in Italian politics for nearly two decades
Professor Christopher Duggan, an expert on Italian history and politics, said the outlook for Mr Letta's government "must now be bleak".
He said: "Berlusconi has claimed credit both for Giorgio Napolitano being re-elected as president and for burying the hatchet with the left, giving Italy a workable coalition.
"Undoubtedly, though, he and his millions of followers have been hoping there will be something of a quid pro quo for this: namely that the political persecution, as they see it, of Berlusconi by the judiciary will stop.
"This sentence will leave them dismayed and extremely angry."
Last October, Berlusconi was sentenced to four years in prison for tax fraud connected to his television channels.
The case is now heading to Italy's highest court for a final appeal, after his defence team failed to have the verdict overturned at the constitutional court.

Bunga Bunga Trial: Silvio Berlusconi Guilty Reviewed by Wor Media on 9:34 AM Rating: 5
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