The Silvio Berlusconi ongoing legal circus heard the closing arguments from the prosecution Monday in the so-called “bunga-bunga” case that accuses the former Italian prime minister of paying for sex with an underaged prostitute and then using his power to cover it up.
Prosecutor Ilda Boccassini spent most of Monday making the detailed argument that Berlusconi knew that Marima el-Mahroug was a minor when they first had sex. The woman, also known as Ruby Heart-Stealer, ultimately received payments of more than $5.8 million from the frisky Italian billionaire.
She also received generous shopping sprees in Italy’s fashion capital, Milan where she was often seen paying for purchases with €500 bills. There’s no equivalent bill that large in American dollars, but the value of each note at today’s rate of exchange would be roughly $650.
A lot of spare change for a poor teen-aged immigrant from Morocco.
Yet both the woman and Berlusconi continued to deny that they had sex.
According to a report in the UK’s The Guardian, which also may have coined the delightful phrase “bunga-bunga trial,” prosecutor Boccassini found Mahroug and Berlusconi’s claims of innocence to be pretty ridiculous: “Let there be no doubt that Karima Mahroug had sex with Berlusconi and received benefits for it … [The] girls invited were part of a prostitution system organised to satisfy the sexual pleasure of Silvio Berlusconi.”
Last week, a different court already upheld a tax fraud conviction against the one-time prime minister. Silvio Berlusconi led Italy’s powerful right-wing People of Liberty party, and he has consistently blamed the left-wing for a two-decade attack intended to destroy the 76-year-old at any cost.
The Italian court isn’t expected to return with a verdict until June 23 or 24.
Meanwhile, poor put-upon Silvio Berlusconi is apparently happy to wallow in self-pity, based on a widely reported statement he made Monday night:
“Theories, innuendo, twisting, falsehoods inspired by prejudice and hate, all against the evidence, beyond the imaginable and the ridiculous. Everything is allowed behind the shield of [judicial] robes. Poor Italy!”
The prosecutor asked for a sentence of six years and a permanent ban from holding public office for Silvio Berlusconi.