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Berlusconi says he suffered 'monstrous' defamation by courts

Milan courts 'defamed friendship with Ruby'

02 January, 18:58
Berlusconi says he suffered 'monstrous' defamation by courts

(ANSA) - Rome, January 2 - Silvio Berlusconi says he has suffered "monstrous" defamation and character attacks by a Milan court that is hearing charges against the former premier of hiring an underage prostitute.

"It has been a monstrous defamation operation mounted by the Milan court," to justify a major investigation, Berlusconi told TV station Sky TG24 on Wednesday.

"It has has gone beyond the limits of the possible".

Berlusconi is on trial for allegedly having sex with an underage prostitute nicknamed Ruby during his third stint as premier, and using his position to allegedly try to hush it up.

He insisted during the television interview that Ruby, whose real name is Karima El Mahroug, told him that she was a relative of former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak.

Berlusconi has said he interceded with police when Ruby was arrested for shoplifting because he was trying to avoid a diplomatic incident, and it was not an abuse of office.

"It was an invention of the newspapers," he said. "She (Ruby) told me that she was a daughter of a family close to president Mubarak". In this case, as in several previous trials, Berlusconi has denied any 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.

Berlusconi has been tried some 30 times but has only been convicted three times, as previous verdicts were either timed out or overturned on appeal.