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Berlusconi appeals Ruby ruling

Sentenced to seven years in prison, lifetime ban from office

02 January, 16:28
Berlusconi appeals Ruby ruling (ANSA) - Milan, January 2 - Silvio Berlusconi on Thursday submitted an appeal to a Milan court against a seven-year sentence for paying an underage prostitute for sex and abusing his office as premier at the time in a lie to cover it up. He also appealed an accompanying lifetime ban from office for paying Karima 'Ruby' El Mahroug for sex, then lying to police to spring her from jail in an unrelated theft charge, claiming she was the niece of fallen Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak and her detention could spark an international incident.

In the several ongoing and previous trials, Berlusconi has always denied wrongdoing, claiming he is the victim of a minority group of allegedly left-wing prosecutors and judges who he says are persecuting him for political reasons.

Many of the 32 witnesses who testified in Berlusconi's defence have been accused by judicial sources of allegedly committing perjury.

Sources said that several political associates of Berlusconi as well as 18 of the 32 young women who took part in Berlusconi's parties perjured themselves.

The women supported Berlusconi's claims that the gatherings at his home were not "bunga bunga" sex parties but innocent and merry affairs featuring burlesque performances.

The three-time premier's legal woes took a harsh turn in 2013.

In November he was ejected from the Senate following his first-ever binding conviction in August, on tax-fraud charges.