Berlusconi 'paid for Ruby's 7,000-euro party'

Maldives holiday, haute couture 'also bankrolled'

(ANSA) - Milan, February 18 - Silvio Berlusconi allegedly recently paid for a lavish birthday party for the baby daughter of the former underage prostitute he had sex with at bunga bunga parties, investigators said Wednesday.
    The 7,000-euro party paid in cash to former nightclub dancer Ruby the Heartstealer was just one of several big cash handouts the ex-premier made via various factotums, they said.
    Another allegedly funded a nine-day Maldives holiday for two people with an estimated cost of 60-90,000 euros, while Ruby also spent large amounts on haute couture.
    The handouts of 14-15,000 euros each were made by people acting for Berlusconi in Milan and at Ruby's home in Genoa, investigators said.
    On Tuesday police searched the homes of Ruby and another 20 young women who attended the parties at Berlusconi's villa outside Milan, in a probe into suspected bribes by the media magnate for them to keep mum about the real, sexual nature of the parties, prosecutors said.
    All the women allegedly had a lifestyle out of all proportion with their declared income, investigators said.
    Unlike Ruby, who was paid by various people, all the others were allegedly on the payroll of Berlusconi's trusted 'treasurer', Giuseppe Spinelli.
    Berlusconi was cleared on appeal last year of knowingly having sex with Ruby when she was 17, one year below the legal age to be a sex worker.
    Judges upheld the three-time premier's assertion he did not know she was underage.


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