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'Hush it up', Ruby claims she was told - wiretap

Premier's party says prosecutors in 'military blitz'

18 January, 14:55
'Hush it up', Ruby claims she was told - wiretap

(see previous story on site).

(ANSA) - Rome, January 17 - A teenage Moroccan belly dancer allegedly paid by Premier Silvio Berlusconi for sex was told by the premier to hush up the affair, according to wiretap evidence released by prosecutors Monday.

"He called me, telling me 'Ruby, I'll give you as much money as you want, I'll pay you, I'll cover you in gold, but the important thing is that you hide everything; don't tell anyone anything," Karima El Mahroug aka Ruby is heard saying in an October call to a former boyfriend, according to a transcript from the prosecutors who are bidding to try the premier for using an underage prostitute.

The premier, who denies wrongdoing, has said no sex parties ever took place at his Milan residence and added that he has been in a steady relationship for some time with someone who would never have allowed such "absurd" events as those reported in the wiretaps.

In another wiretap, Ruby tells the ex-boyfriend her case has "scared everyone", more than two others that made headlines in 2009: a teenage Neapolitan aspiring starlet, Noemi Letizia, over whom the premier's wife sued for divorce; and an escort, Patrizia D'Addario, who taped the premier before and after alleged sex.

"My case is the one that has scared everyone and is surpassing the case of D'Addario and Letizia. I spoke to Silvio and told him I want to get out of it with something: five million (euros)," Ruby says on the wiretap.

In another wiretap, ex-Naples prefect and former national anti-racket commissioner Carlo Ferrigno is heard saying "there were orgies but no drugs" at the premier's parties.

Paying for sex with a minor carries a jail term of up to three years in Italy.

Berlusconi is also alleged to have abused his power in getting Ruby out of an unrelated scrape with Milan police, an offence that carries a jail term of up to 12 years.

The spokesman for the premier's People of Freedom (PdL) party, Daniele Capezzone, reiterated a charge that Berlusconi is the victim of politically motivated prosecutors, saying Italy was "a police state".

PdL House Whip Fabrizio Cicchitto claimed the prosecutors were carrying out a "military blitz".

The centre-left opposition Democratic Party claimed the affair was "humiliating for Italy".