News / Europe

Berlusconi 'Directed' Bunga Bunga Sex Parties – Court

FILE - A combination photo shows Karima el- Mahroug of Morocco at the Karma disco in Milan, Nov. 14, 2010, and Italy's former PM Silvio Berlusconi in Brussels, Belgium, June 28, 2012.
FILE - A combination photo shows Karima el- Mahroug of Morocco at the Karma disco in Milan, Nov. 14, 2010, and Italy's former PM Silvio Berlusconi in Brussels, Belgium, June 28, 2012.
Reuters
Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was the ringmaster of “bunga bunga” sex parties at his luxurious villa near Milan, giving the go-ahead for young women to perform pole dances and stripteases, according to a court document.
 
Berlusconi, who faces potential expulsion from his Senate seat next week after receiving a final conviction for tax fraud in a separate case, was handed a seven-year jail sentence in June for abuse of office and paying for sex with a minor during the parties.
 
In a document released on Thursday explaining the reasons behind the conviction, the court said there was sufficient proof that the 77-year-old had sexual relations with former nightclub dancer Karima el-Mahroug, who was 17 at the time, in exchange for money and jewelry.
 
It said Berlusconi directed women to perform and dance erotically during the parties.
 
“It is proven that the director of the young women's sexual performances was Berlusconi himself,” the court said.
 
Berlusconi has described the evenings as “elegant dinners” and is appealing the verdict. He will not have to serve any jail time for the conviction unless it is upheld after two appeals.
 
The court said it was Berlusconi who decided when to begin “the so-called 'bunga bunga' in which female guests worked to satisfy the desires of the defendant, that is to 'make him feel bodily pleasures'... performing pole dances, striptease, dressing in disguises and fondling each other.”
 
Ruby heartstealer
 
Evidence also shows Berlusconi was aware that el-Mahroug, also known by her stage name “Ruby the Heartstealer,” was under 18 at the time, below the legal age limit for prostitution in Italy, the court found.
 
In May 2010, the then-prime minister called a Milan police station to instruct officials to release el-Mahroug, who was being held on suspicion of stealing a 3,000 euro ($4,000) bracelet.
 
Berlusconi's lawyers said he had made the call to avoid a diplomatic incident because he believed el-Mahroug was the grand-daughter of Hosni Mubarak, then Egyptian president. But prosecutors said he was anxious to cover up their sexual relations.
 
The court said in the document that if Berlusconi had not known el-Mahroug was under-age, he would have had no reason to make the call and try to secure her release.
 
The prostitution case forms only one part of Berlusconi's legal problems. In August Italy's top appeals court confirmed his conviction for massive tax fraud at his Mediaset TV empire, a decision he says was politically motivated.
 
The Senate is due to vote on November 27 on whether to expel him from his seat. Berlusconi, whose center-right party is part of Italy's coalition government, has said he may no longer back Prime Minister Enrico Letta if he is kicked out. But a split in his party has left him without the numbers to bring the government down.

You May Like

Nigeria Incumbent in Tight Spot as Poll Nears

Muhammadu Buhari is running a strong challenge to Goodluck Jonathan, amid a faltering economy and Boko Haram security worries More

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo tells VOA that despite her fame, life is still a struggle as she waits for government's promise of support to arrive More

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

At least seven different indigenous groups in Ratanakiri depend mainly on forest products for their survival, say they face loss of their land, traditional way of life More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More