The Berlusconi circus

Postcard from... Rome

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The Independent Online


When the day finally arrives that Silvio Berlusconi exits the scene, hacks and political pundits will be dusting off the black armbands.

Probably, the Rubygate “bunga bunga” saga will be remembered as the apotheosis of the 20-year period marked by sleaze, corruption and high farce. But for some characters, the Berlusconi circus was a period in which they made their fortunes.

Among the high earners is Karima “Ruby the heart stealer” el Mahroug, who, she claims, went to the then premier’s saucy soirées and kept her underwear on, despite leaving with envelopes stuffed full of €500 notes. She probably earned millions more for keeping quiet about it, according to prosecutors.

There is Emilio Fede, the ridiculous Berlusconi crony, who amassed a fortune reading the news on the tycoon’s Rete 4 TV channel. Along with the bankrupt impresario Lele Mora and Berlusconi’s ex-dental hygienist Nicole Minetti, he is charged with pimping for the mogul.

All three are expecting their trial verdict on 12 July. But that still leaves four weeks for Berlusconi’s entourage to cash in. Step forward the model Imane Fadil, who is now suing all three Berlusconi cronies for forcing her “to take part in Berlusconi’s parties and have sex with him by taking advantage of her dire financial circumstances”. Being a bunga-bunga girl ruined Ms Fadil’s ambitions to work in television, harrumphed her lawyer, Danila di Domenico.

Sympathy glands have been unresponsive. Everyone knows that in Italy it’s the quickest way for young women to get a job in TV.