MILAN: Milan prosecutors have demanded a sentence of six years in jail and a lifetime ban from public office for former premier Silvio Berlusconi in his sex-for-hire trial.
Berlusconi is accused of paying for sex with an underage Moroccan teen at a lavish party he hosted while he was premier, and then trying to cover it up.
Prosecutor Ilda Boccassini told the court during closing arguments on Monday that the young woman, Karima El Mahroug, known as Ruby, lied when she denied having had sex with Berlusconi.
Boccassini said “there is no doubt that Ruby had sex with the defendant and that she received benefits in exchange.” She said Mahroug had received more than $5.8 million from the then-premier.
The trial entered the final stretch on Monday after Berlusconi’s four-year sentence for tax fraud was confirmed by an appeals court, a damaging verdict that, nonetheless, cannot be enforced until all appeals are exhausted.
The prostitution trial had been delayed by more than two months for elections, an eye ailment for which Berlusconi was hospitalised and a change of venue request that was denied.
Prosecutor Ilda Boccassini told the court that the young women invited to the former premier’s parties “were part of a system of prostitution organised for the pleasure of Silvio Berlusconi.”
She said there was “no doubt” that it was known to the organisers of the parties that the young Moroccan woman, was under-age when they included her on the guest list.
Barring delays, a verdict could come by the end of the month.
Under Italian law, it is illegal pay for sex with a minor under 18 years of age. Boccassini pointed out that it was Berlusconi’s own government that had raised the age from 17 -Mahroug’s age at the time of their alleged encounters.
Both Berusconi and Mahroug have denied any sexual contact.
Boccassini described Mahroug as a troubled adolescent who had run away from her parents and foster homes and had been formally accused of petty thefts.
Despite not having a job, Mahroug wore designer clothes and at times had as much as 1,000 euros cash, the prosecutor said.
“We have no doubt that Ruby prostituted herself” before coming in contact with anyone in Berlusconi’s circle in February 2010, Boccassini said.
The two trials have raised questions about Berlusconi’s political future at a delicate moment for Italy.