Italy’s ex-Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi appeared in court on Friday to deny links to underage prostitutes and refute misuse of office charges, the Italian newspaper La Repubblica reports.
“I never had intimate relations with 'Ruby,'" Berlusconi, 76, said, referring to Karima El-Mahroug, who is also known as Ruby Rubacuori, adding that he had loaned her money to help her open a beauty salon, and that he believed she was over 18.
Italy’s eccentric ex-PM is accused of having sexual relations with “Ruby” when she was under 18, for which she is alleged to have received presents and monetary rewards. She is also believed to have attended debauched private events Berlusconi hosted, which the media has dubbed "bunga-bunga" parties.
Speaking in court, Berlusconi denied that his home had ever seen “scenes of a sexual nature,” adding that the term “bunga-bunga” was derived from a joke he made that was picked up by the media.
He also stressed that he had never misused his position to secure her release from prison, saying he had “never put pressure on the police” La Repubblica reported.
Corruption charges also brought against him were thrown out of court in February 2012.