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FT || Berlusconi to stand trial on sex charges

An Italian judge on Tuesday ordered Silvio Berlusconi, the prime minister, to stand trial on charges that he paid for sex with a 17-year-old girl and then tried to cover it up.

Cristina di Censo, Milan examining judge, said the proceedings would start on April 6, after prosecutors asked for an immediate trial.

Mr Berlusconi and Karima El Mahroug, a Moroccan nightclub dancer known as "Ruby" who is at the centre of the accusations, deny the prostitution allegations.

Mr Berlusconi also denies pressing a Milan police chief to release her from detention last May by explaining he thought she was the niece of Hosni Mubarak, then president of Egypt.

The prime minister, who learnt last week that he was to face the resumption of two trials on charges of tax fraud and corruption involving his business empire, has lashed out at the "disgusting disgrace" of "subversive" prosecutors, whom he accused of wrecking Italy's standing abroad.


In spite of the mounting pressure on Mr Berlusconi and his slim majority in parliament, Italy's opposition has proved incapable of forcing the prime minister to resign but has managed to block key legislation.

Mr Berlusconi reacted angrily on Monday to widespread protests staged against him at the weekend mobilised by women campaigners, saying the women should be "ashamed" of themselves.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Tue Feb 15th, 2011 at 07:15:38 AM EST

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