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."