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SCANDAL

Berlusconi Investigated for Abuse of Power

It's been a bad week for Silvio Berlusconi, Italy's prime minister, currently involved in three corruption trials for crimes allegedly committed between February and May 2010. Prosecutors have now brought a scandal known as "Rubygate" to the forefront again, and are investigating Berlusconi for abuse of power involving an underage prostitute. Berlusconi allegedly ordered that an 18-year-old Moroccan girl named Karima El Mahroug, known by her stage name "Ruby" and a fixture at his parties, be released from jail. The 74-year-old prime minister admitted to calling the police on the young woman's behalf, but says he did nothing wrong. Italian press reported that prosecutors would look into whether Berlusconi bailed Ruby out of jail in order to hide his use of underage prostitutes. The young woman told newspapers she was paid €7,000 ($9,356) after attending a party held by Berlusconi last year, but she denied having sex with him. Berlusconi's lawyers have dismissed prosecutor claims as "absurd and groundless."

January 14, 2011 5:48 AM