Just what have we learned from the Berlusconi 'Bunga Bunga' trial?
Silvio Berlusconi has been sentenced to seven years in prison and barred for life from public office, for paying for sex with an underage prostitute and abusing his position to cover it up
Monday 24 June 2013
Billionaire and former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has been found guilty of paying for sex with a 17-year-old girl and abusing the power of his office to cover it up.
The bizarre trial has given the world a window into the billionaire media tycoon’s allegedly rather busy private life. Here are five things we learned from the scandal.
1 – The identity of Ruby the Heart Stealer
Teen underwear model Karima El Mahroug, now 20, met Mr Berlusconi in February 2010. He took a shine to her and she visited his residence several times.
Prosecutors alleged he paid to have sex with her, though she claimed: “It is the first time in my life that a man has not tried to take me to bed. He behaved like a father, I swear.”
She admitted receiving €7,000 euros as a gift after they first met, but insists it was not a payment for sexual favours.
2 – What is Bunga Bunga?
In 2010, El Mahroug said she had attended “bunga bunga” parties at Mr Berlusconi’s villa in Arcore, near Milan. The phrase has become shorthand for parties involving lots of scantily-clad women.
Mr Berlsuconi said it derived from a politically incorrect joke, while others claimed it originates from gatherings Col Muammar Gaddafi held with young women. Sabina Began, a friend of the Prime Minister, said in 2011 that “bunga bunga” was simply her nickname.
3 – Berlusconi initially brushed off the claims
Newspapers claimed Mr Berlusconi intervened when Ruby was detained for stealing a bracelet. He denied any improprieties, saying: “As always, I work without interruption and if occasionally I happen to look a beautiful girl in the face, it’s better to like beautiful girls than to be gay.”
4 – The parties were pretty wild
Prosecutors claim they were attended by 30 models and starlets. Imane Fadil said there was a Sister Act striptease with two women dressed as nuns dancing around a pole. One model was even said to be dressed as Barack Obama.
5 – But sometimes he was too tired
In a taped phonecall, Berlusconi allegedly told Caribbean model Marysthelle Polanco: “Tell Aida (showgirl Yespica) that tonight we won’t do anything special because I’m tired, I’m worn out. So tonight we’ll just have a quiet dinner with some music. I won’t be taking part.
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