London: There is more trouble for Italian
Premier Silvio Berlusconi, already embroiled in prostitution
scandal, with new allegations emerging that he may have paid
young women in his inner circle to undergo cosmetic surgery.
Italian prosecutors have now started an investigation
to determine whether Berlusconi paid money to seven women for
operations to enlarge their breasts, shape their buttocks and
plump up their lips with collagen implants, British newspaper
`The Daily Telegraph` reported.
The investigators believe the operations were carried
out by Giacomo Urtis, a cosmetic surgeon based in Sardinia.
Venezuelan born Dr Urtis, 34, has been questioned by
Ilda Boccassini, one of the Italian magistrates pursuing the
case against the PM, but is not accused of any wrongdoing.
And, in the course of their investigation prosecutors
recorded hundreds of telephone conversations, in which some of
the women caught up in the scandal discussed having work done
to their breasts and bottoms, the British newspaper said.
Dr Urtis told Italy`s `Corriere della Sera` newspaper
that the prosecutors were particularly interested in whether
he had performed work on Karima El Mahroug, the teenage belly
dancer who Berlusconi is accused of paying for sex when she
was 17. The surgeon insisted that he had never met her.
The prosecutors, who accuse the PM of abuse of office
and sleeping with an underage prostitute, have already amassed
evidence suggesting he gave jewellery, cars, and cash to many
showgirls and aspiring actresses who "prostituted themselves"
at his "bunga bunga" parties at his mansion near Milan.
Berlusconi, Italy`s third richest man, said he
was not worried about the prostitution trial, due to start on
April 6, claiming he had been unfairly persecuted for years by
"I`m the person who`s been subjected to the most
trials in Italy, I`ve had to face 2,952 hearings. If I tell
you how much I`ve spent in consultants and lawyers I think
you`ll faint: more than 600 billion lire (2.5 million pounds).
"When people say that I should let myself be put
on trial, I think `forgive them, for they know not what they
do`," Berlusconi said at a conference in Milan.