Berlusconi Admits Giving Teen $63K
But it was for salon 'hair removal' equipment, not sex, he says
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Apr 12, 2011 1:59 AM CDT
Updated Apr 12, 2011 5:45 AM CDT
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi dismissed charges against him as "demented."   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has admitted paying $63,000 to the erotic dancer he's charged with bedding when she was a minor. But he insists it wasn't for sex. He merely wanted to help her equip her planned beauty salon with hair removal equipment, says the 74-year-old leader. "He's trying to reconcile the irreconcilable," scoffed a critic. He says he gave money to the the teen, nicknamed "Ruby Heartstealer," because he worried she would become a prostitute unless she could establish some other business, reports the Telegraph.

"The girl told me a very sorrowful story, which moved me. So I gave her a chance to open a beauty clinic," he said. Outside the courtroom yesterday, the prime minister called the charges against him "laughable, unfounded and demented."