Bunga bunga trial: Prosecutors demand Silvio Berlusconi should be jailed for six years, sex and corruption trial hears, as former Italian Prime Minster opens doors to 'bunga bunga' party villa for TV documentary

Two-hour documentary seen as a last ditch effort to prove late-night soirees were just "good, clean fun"

Silvio Berlusconi should be jailed for six years and banned from holding office again, a prosecutor told a Milan court on Monday during a summing-up hearing for the “bunga bunga” sex and corruption trial.

The public minister Ilda Boccassini argued that the three-time Italian premier organised adult parties in which he paid for sex with a young woman whom he knew to be under age, and abused his power of office to conceal the crime. The court heard how on several occasions in 2010 Mr Berlusconi gave Moroccan-born Karima El-Mahroug, then a 17-year-old exotic dancer nicknamed “Ruby the Heart Stealer”, envelopes full of €500 notes, in return for sexual favours. Ms Boccassini said Ms Mahroug received gifts and payments worth a total of €4.5m (£3.8 million) from the then prime minister.

Ms Mahroug has admitted receiving up to €5,000 a time for attending the soirees at Mr Berlusconi’s mansion in Arcore, near Milan, but denies ever having had sex with the 76-year-old mogul. Ms Boccassini contested: “There’s no doubt that Karima El Mahroug had sex with Berlusconi and received recompense for it. The girls invited to the parties were part of a system of prostitution organised for the sexual satisfaction of Silvio Berlusconi.”

Mr Berlusconi denies all charges and says his soirees were simply “elegant dinners”. His lawyers insist that despite a raft of wiretaps and witness statements, there is no firm evidence he had sex with Ms El Mahroug.

A verdict in the trial, which began in 2011, is due on 24 June. Mr Berlusconi will be entitled to two appeals. And under Italian sentencing rules Mr Berlusconi, as a septuagenarian, would be subject to house arrest rather than prison.

The mogul stepped up his attacks on Italy’s judiciary ahead of the hearing. On Sunday night he turned the might of his TV empire on the court, showing a two-hour ‘documentary’ on his flagship Canale 5 channel, which allowed cameras in the Arcore mansion as part of a one-sided defence. 

The programme showed a garish dining room where the mogul says he hosted “refined and elegant dinners”, before descending into a bricked basement area, in which prosecutors claim the “bunga bunga” parties got going.

No neutral observers, critics of Mr Berlusconi or prosecutors were featured.

The sex case reopened just days after Berlusconi's four-year sentence for tax fraud was confirmed by an appeals court, a damaging verdict that nonetheless cannot be enforced until all appeals are exhausted.

The prostitution trial had been delayed by more than two months for elections, an eye ailment for which Berlusconi was hospitalized and a change of venue request that was denied.

Under Italian law, it is illegal to pay for sex with a minor under 18 years of age. Ms Boccassini pointed out that it was Berlusconi's own government that had raised the age from 17 - Ms el-Mahroug's age at the time of their alleged encounters.

Ms Boccassini described Ms el-Mahroug as a troubled adolescent who had run away from her parents and foster homes and had been formally accused of petty theft of wallets and expensive jewellery on several occasions. Despite not having a job she wore designer clothes and at times had as much as 1,000 euros cash.

“We have no doubt that Ruby prostituted herself” before coming in contact with anyone in Berlusconi's circle in February 2010, Ms Boccassini said.

The two trials have raised questions about Berlusconi's political future at a delicate moment for Italy. He headed the centre right coalition that finished second in February elections and which is in an uneasy coalition with the centre-left, but he has no formal government post.

If the tax fraud verdict and sentence is confirmed, it includes a five-year ban on public office. A final level of appeal is pending, and could be delivered before the end of the year.

During the documentary, aired somewhat unsurprisingly on one of Berlusconi’s own television channels last night, viewers were taken on a tour of the opulently-decorated party villa in Arcore, Lombardy.

During the interview, Berlusconi repeated his defence that guests kept their clothes on at all times, saying: “At the dinners nothing happened that could be defined as incorrect or embarrassing.”

He added: “There was a large table, I was the centre of attention and we talked about football and politics … I have nothing to hide.”

Among the accusations levelled at Berlusconi are that women regularly dressed up as nuns and police officers to perform stripteases for him and his guests in 2010. It is also alleged that the women performed mock-lesbian shows, touched Berlusconi intimately and wore Barack Obama face masks.

Miss El-Mahroug was apparently a regular at the parties, but denied she had sex with Berlusconi during a tearful appearance on the steps of a Milan courthouse last month.

She also made an appearance in Sunday night’s documentary to reiterate her claim that she and Berlusconi had never had sex.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
The guide, since withdrawn, used illustrations and text to help people understand the court process (Getty)
newsMinistry of Justice gets law 'terribly wrong' in its guide to courts
News
Bobbi Kristina Brown with her mother Whitney Houston in 2011
people
News
Starting the day with a three-egg omelette could make people more charitable, according to new research
scienceFeed someone a big omelette, and they may give twice as much, thanks to a compound in the eggs
News
Top Gun actor Val Kilmer lost his small claims court battle in Van Nuys with the landlord of his Malibu mansion to get back his deposit after wallpapering over the kitchen cabinets
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
News
The actress Geraldine McEwan was perhaps best known for playing Agatha Christie's detective, Miss Marple (Rex)
peopleShe won a Bafta in 1991 for her role in Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit
News
newsPatrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
News
Robert Fraser, aka Groovy Bob
peopleA new show honours Robert Fraser, one of the era's forgotten players
Life and Style
Torsten Sherwood's Noook is a simple construction toy for creating mini-architecture
tech
Sport
David Silva celebrates with Sergio Aguero after equalising against Chelsea
footballChelsea 1 Manchester City 1
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Online Media Sales Trainee

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Now our rapidly expanding and A...

Recruitment Genius: Public House Manager / Management Couples

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about great ...

Recruitment Genius: Production Planner

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Recruitment Genius: General Factory Operatives

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Day In a Page

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links