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.

Arts and Entertainment
books
Voices
Caustic she may be, but Joan Rivers is a feminist hero, whether she likes it or not
voicesShe's an inspiration, whether she likes it or not, says Ellen E Jones
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and the Dalek meet
tvReview: Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Sport
Diego Costa
footballEverton 3 Chelsea 6: Diego Costa double has manager purring
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Life and Style
3D printed bump keys can access almost any lock
techSoftware needs photo of lock and not much more
Arts and Entertainment
The 'three chords and the truth gal' performing at the Cornbury Music Festival, Oxford, earlier this summer
music... so how did she become country music's hottest new star?
Life and Style
The spy mistress-general: A lecturer in nutritional therapy in her modern life, Heather Rosa favours a Byzantine look topped off with a squid and a schooner
fashionEurope's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln
News
Dr Alice Roberts in front of a
peopleAlice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Star turns: Montacute House
tv
News
i100Steve Carell selling chicken, Tina Fey selling saving accounts and Steve Colbert selling, um...
Arts and Entertainment
Unsettling perspective: Iraq gave Turner a subject and a voice (stock photo)
booksBrian Turner's new book goes back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
News
The Digicub app, for young fans
advertisingNSPCC 'extremely concerned'
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Some of the key words and phrases to remember
booksA user's guide to weasel words
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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

Senior Data Scientist (Data Mining, RSPSS, R, AI, CPLEX, SQL)

£60000 - £70000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Senior Data Sc...

Law Costs

Highly Attractive Salary: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - This is a very unusual law c...

Junior VB.NET Application Developer (ASP.NET, SQL, Graduate)

£28000 - £30000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Junior VB.NET ...

C# .NET Web Developer (ASP.NET, JavaScript, jQuery, XML, XLST)

£40000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# .NET Web De...

Day In a Page

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor
She's dark, sarcastic, and bashes life in Nowheresville ... so how did Kacey Musgraves become country music's hottest new star?

Kacey Musgraves: Nashville's hottest new star

The singer has two Grammys for her first album under her belt and her celebrity fans include Willie Nelson, Ryan Adams and Katy Perry
American soldier-poet Brian Turner reveals the enduring turmoil that inspired his memoir

Soldier-poet Brian Turner on his new memoir

James Kidd meets the prize-winning writer, whose new memoir takes him back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
Aston Villa vs Hull match preview: Villa were not surprised that Ron Vlaar was a World Cup star

Villa were not surprised that Vlaar was a World Cup star

Andi Weimann reveals just how good his Dutch teammate really is
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef ekes out his holiday in Italy with divine, simple salads

Bill Granger's simple Italian salads

Our chef presents his own version of Italian dishes, taking in the flavours and produce that inspired him while he was in the country
The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

If supporters begin to close bank accounts, switch broadband suppliers or shun satellite sales, their voices will be heard. It’s time for revolution