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Silvio Berlusconi ‘paid for sex with teenager 13 times’

By Michael Day in Milan

Silvio Berlusconi paid for sex with teen belly dancer Karima ‘Ruby’ El Mahroug on 13 occasions last year, prosecutors will tell next month's trial when the Italian premier will stand accused of paying for sex with a minor and abuse of office.

As the probe into the ‘Rubygate’ affair ended on Tuesday, investigating magistrates produced an eight-page report stating that Mr Berlusconi's illegal encounters with the young Moroccan occurred between February 14 and May 2 last year, while she was still 17.

It adds that his associates may have been grooming her for prostitution the previous year. It was at this time that the TV newsreader Emilio Fede, a close friend of the premier, first met Ruby at a beauty contest.

The prosecutors recommend |that three other associates of Mr Berlusconi — the impresario Lele Mora, Mr Fede and Mr Berlusconi's former dental hygienist Nicole Minetti — stand trial for procuring prostitutes.

If the judge issues indictments, these will result in a separate trial from Mr Berlusconi's fast-track hearing, due to begin in Milan on April 6.

The premier is also accused of abuse of office, after allegedly lying to police in order to secure Ms El Mahroug's release after she was held by police last year. Paying minors for sex carries a jail term of up to three years. Abuse of office can carry a 12-year sentence. Mr Berlusconi and his associates deny all charges. Ms El Mahroug also denies having sex with the Prime Minister.

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