Silvio and his best American bubba
Italy’s former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi has handed out cash gifts worth more than €100,000 to young women due to testify in his trial on charges of paying an underage prostitute.
Berlusconi has reportedly paid €127,000 to three witnesses since his trial began last April before allegedly putting pressure on Milan police to hush up the case. The trial centres on Moroccan runaway Karima el-Mahroug, known as Ruby the Heart Stealer, who attended so-called “bunga bunga” parties at Berlusconi’s mansion outside Milan in 2010.
Prosecutors allege the parties were organised by Nicole Minetti, a former dental hygienist turned TV showgirl who was nominated a councillor for the Lombardy region by Berlusconi’s party. Minetti, who is also standing trial separately for procuring prostitutes for the former prime minister, was paid €55,000 by him in two instalments in October and November, prosecutors say, according to Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera.
Two regular guests at those parties, sisters Eleonora and Imma de Vivo – models who appeared on an Italian celebrity reality show – received €72,000, paid by Berlusconi via their father, in July and October.
One party guest, dancer Maria Makdoum, has told prosecutors she saw the de Vivo twins dancing around Berlusconi in their knickers and bra at one of his after-dinner bunga bunga sessions. Berlusconi “was touching their intimate parts and they were touching him,” she said.
Berlusconi’s lawyer, Niccolò Ghedini, admitted payments had been made to Minetti and the de Vivos, but denied they were intended to sway their testimony.
“The linking of the payments with the fact they are witnesses in the so-called Ruby trial is absolutely spurious and without foundation,” Ghedini said.
“With his usual generosity, Berlusconi has sought to blah, blah, blah della blah!
The trial continues next week.
RTFA if you feel the need to catch up on the lawyer-speak. Otherwise –
Italy won’t climb back into the modern world until a couple of responsibilities are resumed. They used to be ordinary parts of life – excepting the part about hiding money instead of paying taxes. And even that was only for the very rich.
But, Italy needs to stop listening to people because they own newspapers, television stations and football teams. Even if the football teams are decent. And Italy needs to put away the corrupt – even if they own newspapers, television stations and football teams.
Yes, I know we ain’t doing much better here in the United States. But, at the current rate, we’ll sort this out before Italy – and 50 years ago, I couldn’t have said that.