Wed, May 09, 2012 - Page 6 News List

Berlusconi’s parties featured simulated sex acts: testimony

Reuters, MILAN, ITALY

Young women simulated oral sex with a Greek statue at a party hosted by former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, a witness said on Monday at a trial where he is accused of paying for sex with an underage prostitute.

Chiara Danese, a 20-year-old beauty contest winner, had tears in her eyes as she told a Milan court that Berlusconi asked the women to play sex games with a nude statue of the ancient fertility god Priapus.

“He touched the girls while they simulated oral sex with the statue,” she said. “Then Berlusconi, whom the girls called ‘daddy’ and he called ‘my babies,’ also had them kiss him in his private parts. The girls, meanwhile, chanted ‘thank God for Silvio.’ I and [fellow guest] Ambra were shocked.”

Berlusconi’s lawyer, Niccolo Ghedini, offered Danese a tissue to wipe away her tears while she testified about the August 2010 party.

Berlusconi, 75, is charged with paying for sex with -Moroccan-born Karima El Mahroug in 2010, when she was 17, and then abusing the powers of his office by getting her freed from police custody after she had been arrested for theft.

Prosecutors say that dozens of showgirls and aspiring starlets received cash and other gifts for taking part in sex games at his Milan home.

Berlusconi, who denies the charges, says he was only helping the young women out of generosity and accuses magistrates of mounting a politically biased campaign against him.

He says his parties were “elegant, convivial dinners.”

Danese and her friend Ambra Battilana are seeking damages in a separate trial where three associates of Berlusconi are accused of procuring prostitutes for him.

They said they lost job opportunities because of the bad publicity surrounding the women who attended the former prime minister’s parties.

Berlusconi, a billionaire media tycoon, was forced from power in November last year after his repeated failure to pass tough austerity measures led to a crisis on bond markets alarmed at the weakness of the government in the eurozone’s third-largest economy.

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