Fresh Ruby charges for Berlusconi (3)

'More money to women'

(ANSA) - Milan, January 26 - Former premier Silvio Berlusconi was placed under investigation Thursday for allegedly paying money to four more young women - Elisa Toti, Aris Espinosa, Miriam Loddo and Giovanna Rigato - until recently to keep mum about the true nature of his bunga bunga sex parties in the so-called Ruby III case, la Repubblica daily reported. In the case, last month Milan prosecutors requested the media mogul's indictment on charges of witness tampering. The leader of the centre-right Forza Italia (FI) party is accused of bribing key witnesses in the Ruby III trial against him to the tune of 10 million euros.
    A preliminary hearings judge on October 19 indicted former exotic dancer Karima El Mahroug - stagename Ruby Heartstealer - and 22 others for corruption and perjury in the case.
    That trial began on January 11.
    The case against Berlusconi is being dealt with separately after he was unable to attend an October hearing on the grounds that he was in the United States for a check-up after undergoing heart surgery earlier in 2016.
    In the first trial linked to the case, Berlusconi was convicted of paying Ruby for sex while she was a minor, but was acquitted on appeal on the grounds that there was no proof he knew she was under 18 at the time.
    El Mahroug was at the centre of the "bunga-bunga" sex-party scandal that hit Berlusconi while he was still premier.
    The other 22 defendants include El Mahroug's former lawyer Luca Giuliante, journalist Carlo Rossella and Senator Mariarosaria Rossi (FI).