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Berlusconi gave $9.5m to Moroccan dancer Ruby: lawyer

The Moroccan received 6 or 7 million euros in illegal offshore payments from Berlusconi

Published: Updated:

A lawyer is claiming that Silvio Berlusconi gave around 7 million euros ($9.5 million) to “Ruby the Heart Stealer” – the Moroccan dancer who the former Italian premier was accused of paying for underage sex, Britain’s The Times daily reported Tuesday.

Egidio Verzini, Karima El Mahroughad’s former lawyer, told L’Espresso magazine that the Moroccan received 6 or 7 million euros in illegal offshore payments from Berlusconi, the UK daily said.

“That’s the order of magnitude, but don’t insist — I don’t intend to reveal the exact figure,” Verzini said.

The lawyer said he was not in a position to disclose whether the money was in return for El Mahroug concealing the truth about her relationship with Berlusconi from Milan prosecutors, but she is one of 44 witnesses under investigation for perjury.

In 2013 a lower tribunal sentenced Berlusconi to seven years in jail on charges of abuse of office and paying for sex with a minor. But last month an appeals court unexpectedly overturned the conviction.

The court ruled that there was no evidence Berlusconi had abused his office and that his conduct with El Mahroug did not constitute a crime, as there was no proof that he knew she was under 18.

But in the interview with L’Espresso, the lawyer expressed doubts about Berlusconi’s proclaimed ignorance of El Mahroug’s real age.

Verzini served as El Mahroug’s lawyer for three months in 2011.