Berlusconi associates guilty of procuring prostitutes

THREE ASSOCIATES of former Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi have been found guilty of procuring prostitutes for his controversial “bunga bunga” parties.
L-R: Mora, Minetti and Fede are all expected to appeal. Net photo.
L-R: Mora, Minetti and Fede are all expected to appeal. Net photo.

THREE ASSOCIATES of former Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi have been found guilty of procuring prostitutes for his controversial “bunga bunga” parties.

Emilio Fede, Lele Mora and Nicole Minetti were given jail sentences of between five and seven years.

Last month Berlusconi was given seven years in jail for paying for sex with 17-year-old Karima El Mahroug.

Both Berlusconi and Mahroug deny having had sex, and she says she has never been a prostitute.

Mahroug is one of the women that the three associates in the current trial are alleged to have procured.

Berlusconi is appealing against the earlier ruling, which also banned him from public office. He remains a free man and a member of parliament while he does so.

Berlusconi insists the alleged sex parties were actually dinners where female guests performed “burlesque” dancing.

The three convicted in the current trial deny the charges and are likely to appeal.

The prosecution said they used to vet the young women and then introduce them to Berlusconi’s soirees at his mansion near Milan.

The prosecution told the court the evenings would begin with dinner, but become increasingly sexually charged, our correspondent adds.

The court heard of an occasion when Minetti, formerly a showgirl, performed a raunchy dance for the then prime minister.

She appeared dressed as a nun and then stripped down to her underwear.

She told her lawyer by telephone that she was “stunned by the excessive punishment”, AFP reports.

Fede, a former talent agent, and Mora, a television host, were also banned from holding public office.

Berlusconi has blamed the multiple legal cases against him on left-wing elements in the judiciary. He says they are determined to smear him and drive him out of politics.

Neither he nor Mahroug was a defendant in the current trial.

However, judges have asked prosecutors to investigate whether he lied when testifying in the three aides’ defence and should face further charges.

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