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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

Open Source Seeds Hit the Market, Raise Awareness

First open source seeds include 29 new varieties of broccoli, celery, kale, quinoa and other vegetables and grains More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid