A Daily news digest by Jasper van Santen

Silvio Berlusconi says ‘Bunga Bunga’ parties were ‘burlesque contests’ – Telegraph

In Nonsense on April 20, 2012 at 11:50

Silvio Berlusconi makes rare appearance at sex trial

Silvio Berlusconi says ‘Bunga Bunga’ parties were ‘burlesque contests’ 

Witnesses have described starlets and showgirls performing stripteases and dressing up as nuns, nurses and policewomen at the parties, which were held at the former prime minister’s mansion near Milan.

He conceded that some of the women had dressed up in police uniforms but said they were “by their nature exhibitionists” because they came from the world of showbusiness.

The parties were nothing more than “elegant dinners”, he said, repeating a defence that he has used ever since the scandal broke two years ago.

The billionaire politician, who resigned in November, is on trial in Milan on charges of paying for sex with a 17-year-old erotic dancer whom prosecutors allege was working as a prostitute.

He is also accused of abuse of office by pressuring police in Milan to release her from custody after she was arrested on suspicion of stealing cash and jewellery from a flat mate.

He denies the charges and the woman, Karima El Mahroug, who is now 18, also says she never went slept with him, either voluntarily or for money.

Mr Berlusconi said the “burlesque contests” took place in an underground room of his mansion where his children, now all grown up, used to host discos for their friends.

“The girls, the women, are by their nature exhibitionists,” the 75-year-old former premier said during a break in the hearing.

“I was watching with great interest, because I was enjoying myself greatly and I will continue to do so.”

At the last hearing in the trial, on Monday, a model told the court that some of the women performed stripteases while dressed as nuns, while another peeled off an AC Milan shirt wearing a mask of the footballer Ronaldinho.

Responding to evidence that he has been paying women who will be called as witnesses tens of thousands of euros during the course of the trial, he said he did so because their lives had been “ruined” by the scandal.

Their only fault had been to accept invitations to “normal” dinners which sometimes ended with “theatrical spectaculars”, he insisted.

Mr Berlusconi said the “true scandal” was the money spent by the Italian state on the trial.


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