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Berlusconi Convicted for Paying Minor to Have Sex
On Monday, an Italian court found former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi guilty of paying a minor for sex and for abuse of power while in office. Berlusconi was banned for life from holding public office and sentenced to seven years in prison.
In a trial that went on for over two years and crossed 50 hearings, the three-time prime minister of Italy was proved to have paid a Moroccan-born dancer, Karima el Mahroug, to have sex at Berlusconi’s mansion outside Milan. The incident took place in 2010, when Karima was 17 years of age. Under the law of Italy, paying a minor to have sex is illegal.
The story also had significant other angles that showed Berlusconi wielded sufficient hold over the girl. The girl was arrested for theft in 2010, but Berlusconi used his authority as prime minister to pressurize law enforcement authorities into releasing the girl into the care of one of Berlusconi’s associates. Normally, a teenager arrested for theft would have been supervised by local authorities.
It was also found Berlusconi had suggested to the police that the teenage dancer from Morocco was in fact a niece of Hosni Mubarak – who was then the president of Egypt.
However, the chances of the 76-year-old media moghul ever going to jail is slim, as Italy has a three-tier legal system and Berlusconi can appeal twice against his sentence, all the while remaining free as the appeals are pending at their respective forums. While this could normally take years, if procedural flaws are found in the trial, then after the years of pendency of the appeals, there can always be a retrial, and the process start afresh from ground up.
Chances are, by the time legal procedures are exhausted, Berlusconi would be ready for a natural death due to old age.
The flamboyant Berlusconi issued a statement deriding the sentence saying, “An incredible sentence has been issued of a violence never seen or heard of before, to try to eliminate me from the political life of this country … Yet again I intend to resist against this persecution because I am absolutely innocent…”
However, the case of the Moroccan dancer is only one of Berlusconi’s legal woes. An appeal is pending at the Supreme Court of Italy for a sentence Berlusconi earlier received for tax evasion. There is also another ongoing investigation for bribing a Senator.
In 2009, Berlusconi’s wife left him over his friendship with another teenage model, 18-year-old Noemi Letizia.