Berlusconi a Suspect in Teen Prostitute Case

Could face 15 years in prison
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 14, 2011 10:40 AM CST
In this on Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2011 file photo Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi listens during a news conference.   (AP Photo/Shane McMillan, File)

(Newser) – Police are officially investigating Silvio Berlusconi over allegations that he paid a 17-year-old girl for sex, and have asked him to come in for questioning, prosecutors in Milan announced today. He’s also accused of attempting to use his position as prime minister to pressure police to sweep the matter under the rug. He hasn’t been charged with anything yet, but if he is, and if he’s convicted, he’ll face 15 years in prison, the Guardian reports.

The girl in question is Karima el-Mahroug, better known as Ruby Heartstealer, the Moroccan girl Berlusconi allegedly helped spring from jail after she was arrested for theft. Mahroug once told investigators that Berlusconi gave her cash gifts after she attended one of his parties, at which she played an erotic game called the “bunga bunga.” But she has since publicly denied sleeping with the prime minister, Berlusconi’s lawyers were quick to point out. (Read more Silvio Berlusconi stories.)

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