Berlusconi sent a calming message to EU allies and financial markets that any center-right government would not be hostile to the European Union. His plan backfired.
“Berlusconi lost his capacity to see and feel the country, the one gift that enabled him to remain in power for over two decades despite the numerous scandals he got involved in,” said Roberto D’Agostino, the owner and editor of Dagospia, Italy’s most controversial online publication.
Silvio Berlusconi, a former Prime Minister of Italy, was accused and convicted but on appeal found not guilty of paying 17-year old Moroccanprostitute Karima El Mahroug, also known by the stage name Ruby Rubacuori (Italian for “Ruby the Heartstealer”) – for sexual services between February and May 2010 when she was under the age of 18.[N 1] He was also convicted and on appeal found not guilty of abuse of office (Italian: concussione) by arranging to have El Mahroug released from police detention during an incident in which she was briefly held on claims of theft. On 24 June 2013, the Court of First Instance sentenced Berlusconi to seven years in prison, and banned him from public office for life. Berlusconi appealed the sentence, and on 18 July 2014, an appeals court overturned Berlusconi’s conviction, thus making him once again eligible to hold elected office.
On 27 May 2010, El Mahroug was arrested by the police in Milan after being accused of the theft of three thousand euros. Since she was not carrying any legal or identification documents, the officers took her to the local police headquarters to identify her and for questioning. Since she was a minor under eighteen, a judge ordered the police to direct her to a shelter for juvenile offenders.
A parliamentary committee dominated by Silvio Berlusconi’s followers yesterday took the first step towards blocking an investigation by prosecutors in which he is formally suspected of paying an underage prostitute and abusing his official position.
The committee, which deals with issues of parliamentary privilege, voted by 11 to eight to recommend that the investigation be declared null and void. Parliament must now vote whether to accept its advice.
The committee had been asked to decide whether the prosecutors could search premises claimed to form part of Berlusconi’s political secretariat. But the committee voted on the wider issue of whether the prosecutors should have launched their investigation at all without referring to a special court for offences allegedly committed by ministers in the performance of their duties.
At the centre of the affair is a young Moroccan, Karima el-Mahroug, who is claimed to have visited Berlusconi’s villa near Milan while still under the age of 18. The prime minister has acknowledged that, after she was detained on suspicion of theft last May, he telephoned police to say she was the granddaughter of the Egyptian president, Hosni Mubarak.
Berlusconi’s lawyers say he believed that she was. The committee endorsed the argument that he was thus acting in an official capacity when he placed the call.
There were further problems for Berlusconi when it was revealed in evidence to Italy’s parliament that almost 3kg of cocaine was found last year in the cellar of a flat allegedly provided free to one of his guests at his villa outside Milan.
Marysthell García Polanco, from the Dominican Republic, is a model and former weather announcer known for a celebrated appearance in the “sexy car wash” segment of a popular reality show on one of Berlusconi’s channels.
The drugs were part of a haul of more than 12kg allegedly belonging to García Polanco’s boyfriend. He was arrested while driving a car belonging to Nicole Minetti, who, prosecutors claim, organised the supply of women for Berlusconi’s parties. She and the prime minister have both denied any wrongdoing. Yesterday Berlusconi dismissed the new evidence as “just mud [thrown about] to bad mouth me”.