Trio found guilty of pimping prostitutes for Silvio Berlusconi's 'bunga bunga' parties

Bankrupt impresario and former newsreader given seven-year jail term, with five years for dental hygienist-turned-councillor

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The Independent Online

Three friends of Silvio Berlusconi were today found guilty of pimping for the tycoon and handed long jail terms.

The billionaire ex-premier was last month found guilty of paying for sex with exotic dancer Karima El-Mahroug, known as "Ruby the Heartstealer", when she was under age in a related case.

Today a Milan court found his associates guilty of aiding and abetting prostitution by procuring young women for the former prime minister.

The three are Nicole Minette, his former dental hygienist-turned-PDL-councillor; Emilio Fede a former news reader on Mr Berlusconi's Rete 4 TV channel and the bankrupt impresario Lele Mora.

Mora, who was filmed rounding up young women and driving them into the grounds of Mr Berlusconi's Acore mansion, and Emilo Fede who became notorious for his pro-Berlusconi bias while reading the news, both received seven-year sentences. 

Minetti, who rose rapidly from dental hygienist to become a regional councillor for Berlusconi's PDL party, was sentenced to five years in jail. The court heard she also "performed sexual acts for money", including stripping in a nun's costume and fondling other party-goers.

During her trial she declared that she organised the bunga bunga parties, which Mr Berlusconi described as "elegant dinners" out of a "real feeling of love" for the perma-tanned ex-premier.

Wiretaps, taken after the scandal broke recorded her saying however, that the mogul was "a piece of shit... just out to save his flabby arse".

Minetti, who is on holiday in Spain, told her lawyer by telephone that she was "stunned by the excessive punishment".

The judges also asked prosecutors to launch an investigation into Mr Berlusconi, his lawyers Niccolo Ghedini and Piero Longo, and Ruby, for possibly lying under oath while testifying in Mora, Fede and Minetti's defence.

All three have denied any wrongdoing, and like Mr Berlusconi, will not be jailed until their appeal processes are exhausted.