Ex-showgirl denies running Berlusconi `brothel`
Rome: A former showgirl turned local
politician for Silvio Berlusconi`s ruling party on Thursday denied
accusations from prosecutors of being a "brothel manager" for
the Italian prime minister.
At a pre-trial hearing in Milan this week, a
prosecutor accused Nicole Minetti, a local councillor for the
People of Freedom party in the northern Lombardy region, of
procuring young women for the 74-year-old Berlusconi.
Interviewed by Italian daily Corriere della Sera, the
26-year-old brunette denied the charge, saying she was
"completely extraneous to the facts."
"Me in a brothel? When I was born they didn`t even
exist," she added.
Berlusconi is a defendant in a separate trial on
charges of paying for sex with a 17-year-old girl and then
using the power of his office to try to cover up the crime --
the latter charge punishable by up to 12 years in prison.
The prime minister and the girl in question, a
nightclub dancer named Karima El Mahroug, better known by her
stage name of "Ruby the Heart Stealer", have denied having sex
during allegedly raunchy parties at his villa near Milan.
"All this is absolutely false," Minetti told Corriere
Minetti, celebrity agent Lele Mora and television
journalist Emilio Fede -- all friends of Berlusconi -- are
suspected of pimping for the Italian leader.
Prosecutor Pietro Forno on Monday said there was an
"organised structure" in which Mora recruited the girls, Fede
socialised with them and Minetti acted as "the brother
manager, paying salaries and choosing locations."
Minetti said she had close ties with Berlusconi: "We
don`t see each other often but he`s a person I like very much,
whom I care about a lot."
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