Saturday, November 30, 2013

While Italy's Economy Was Going Down The Toilet, Guess What Silvio Berlusconi Was Doing


Silvio and Ruby

Italy's 77 year old right-wing former Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, a flamboyently crooked billionaire, was finally kicked out of Parliament Wednesday. Ostensibly it was because he had been convicted for tax fraud. The Senate vote was 192-113 with 2 abstentions. He'll never face prison on the tax conviction but the loss of his Senate seat also means the loss of his immunity against prosecution for all sorts of other criminal activities he's been immersed in for decades. Probably the first one he'll have to face involves the charges of bribery in the sex scandals that have plagued his recent career. He has been bribing the then-underage stripper, Ruby, who he had hired for sex. The judges are calling the bribery "pollution of evidence." Already convicted in the case are a TV anchorman from one of his stations, a talent scout and his dental hygienist, all of whom were procuring underage girls for him to have sex with. The 2 males were also accused of "testing" the girls before presenting them to the Prime Minister. There were 32 young women called as material witnesses, 18 of whom are now thought to have perjured themselves after being paid off by Berlusconi.
Berlusconi is accused of paying 2,500 euros ($3,400) apiece each month to young models and TV showgirls to tone down their accounts of the sexually charged nature of his dinner parties.

Three Berlusconi associates were convicted earlier this year of pimping for him. Berlusconi wasn't a defendant in that trial, but he is appealing a seven-year sentence he received in June for paying for sex with Karima El Mahroug, a nightclub dancer who was 17 when she attended the parties.

In a document released on Friday explaining the pimping conviction, the judges detailed the bribery accusations and said they had forwarded them to prosecutors, who are now expected to open an investigation.

The judges said that after the homes of Berlusconi’s female party guests were searched during the prostitution probe, he called about a dozen of them to his Milan mansion in January 2011 for a conference and initiated their monthly payments.

In court, the judges said, the women gave “perfectly overlapping” evidence of “elegant” soirees, rather than the striptease sessions described by some other guests.

The judges said they noticed the female witnesses using the same phrases in their statements, and that when they were asked the exact meaning of words they had used, some women were unable to respond, suggesting they had been coached.

Berlusconi, 77, has acknowledged paying his female guests regular sums but has claimed it was compensation for their stalled show-business careers, which suffered from the poor publicity stemming from the "bunga bunga" trial.



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