News / Europe

Italian Prosecutor Seeks 6-year Jail Term for Berlusconi

People of Freedom party member Silvio Berlusconi makes an address on stage in Brescia May 11, 2013.
People of Freedom party member Silvio Berlusconi makes an address on stage in Brescia May 11, 2013.
Reuters
Italian prosecutors on Monday called for a six-year jail sentence and a lifetime ban on holding public office for former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, charged with abuse of office and paying for sex with a minor.
 
The 76-year-old billionaire media tycoon and center-right senator is accused of paying for sex with Karima El Mahroug, better known by her stage name 'Ruby the Heartstealer', when she was under 18, during the now notorious “bunga bunga'' parties at his villa at Arcore near Milan in 2010.
 
However, prosecutors considered by far the more serious charge was that he abused the powers of his office during a separate incident by arranging for her to be released from police custody where she was being held on theft charges.
 
They requested 5 years imprisonment for that and a year for paying for sex with a minor. The verdict is expected on June 24.
 
“At Arcore there was a system of organized prostitution aimed at the satisfaction of the sexual pleasure of Silvio Berlusconi,'' Milan chief prosecutor Ilda Boccassini said in a more than six-hour closing argument.
 
“There is no doubt that Ruby had sex with the defendant, from whom she received benefits,'' she said.
 
Berlusconi has vigorously denied the accusations. El Mahroug, who staged a dramatic protest outside the Milan court last month, has always denied being a prostitute or having had sex with Berlusconi.
 
The sentencing request adds to a mass of legal problems facing Berlusconi, who last week lost an appeal against a four-year sentence for tax fraud in connection with his Mediaset broadcasting empire. Berlusconi will now launch a second and final appeal.
 
No final verdict will be enforced until the appeals process, which can last for years, is exhausted but Berlusconi's legal sagas have created growing tension within the coalition government of Prime Minister Enrico Letta.
 
Berlusconi mounted a fierce attack on prosecutors over the weekend at a stormy rally in the northern city of Brescia that was attended by center-right members of the government including Interior Minister Angelino Alfano.
 
Letta's own center-left Democratic Party (PD) sharply criticized Alfano's presence at the rally, which it took as an endorsement of Berlusconi's comments and the prime minister warned his coalition partners that there could be no repeat if the government was to survive.
 
Berlusconi's campaign continued on Sunday with a lavish two-hour special on his own Canale 5 channel presenting his version of the “bunga bunga'' evenings where prosecutors allege that sex parties involving a string of young women took place.
 
The program showed El Mahroug admitting that she had lied about certain aspects of her life to investigators but flatly denying any sexual relationship with Berlusconi and complaining at media representations of her as a prostitute.
 
It filmed the dining room and theater at Berlusconi's palatial villa near Milan and presented an array of witnesses who said the evenings there were convivial parties where he entertained guests by singing and telling stories.

You May Like

South Korea Divided on Response to North’s Cyber Attack

In past five years, officials in Seoul have accused Pyongyang of hacking into banks, government websites, causing chaos and inflicting millions of dollars in damages More

Video Calm Amid Fear in Daily Life in S. Sudan’s Bentiu

Residents have been trying to regain some sense of normalcy, but planning for the future remains uncertain as fear of attacks looms More

2015 Could Be Watershed for Syria Conflict

Republican control of US Senate in January could lead to more aggressive policy against IS militants in Syria - and against regime of Bashar al-Assad More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ugandan Doctors Aid Victims of Sudan's Civil Wari
X
Adam Bailes
December 22, 2014 3:45 PM
In Sudan's state of South Kordofan, the number of amputees as result of civil war is in the thousands, but few have access to sufficient medical help. Adam Bailes recently visited the area and says a small team of Ugandan doctors has been providing remote help, producing new prosthetic limbs for those in need.
Video

Video Ugandan Doctors Aid Victims of Sudan's Civil War

In Sudan's state of South Kordofan, the number of amputees as result of civil war is in the thousands, but few have access to sufficient medical help. Adam Bailes recently visited the area and says a small team of Ugandan doctors has been providing remote help, producing new prosthetic limbs for those in need.
Video

Video Jane Monheit Christmas Special

Chanteuse Jane Monheit sings the holiday classic “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and explains why it’s her favorite song of the season.
Video

Video Calm Amid Fear in Daily Life in S. Sudan’s Town of Bentiu

Six months ago, Bentiu was a ghost town. The capital of northern Unity State, near South Sudan’s important oil fields, had changed hands several times in fighting between government forces and rebels. Calm returned in November and since then, residents of Bentiu have been trying to regain some sense of normalcy. Bentiu’s market has reopened there are plans to start school again. But fears of new attacks hang heavy, as Benno Muchler reports from Bentiu.
Video

Video US Business Groups Press for Greater Access to Cuba

President Barack Obama's decision to do all he can to ease restrictions on U.S. trade, travel and financial activities with Cuba has drawn criticism from some conservatives and Republicans. People who bring tourists to the island and farmers who want to sell more food to Cuba, however, think they can do a lot more business with Cuba. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.

All About America

AppleAndroid