Verdict on Berlusconi pals’ sex trial due Friday

The verdict in a trial against three of Silvio Berlusconi's associates for allegedly procuring prostitutes for the former Italian premier - including the then underage Ruby - is expected later on Friday.

Verdict on Berlusconi pals' sex trial due Friday
Failed showbusiness agent Lele Mora is one of Berlusconi's 'friends' on trial. Photo: Olivier Morin/AFP

A judge in Milan told the court that the verdict would be announced no earlier than 1430 GMT (4.30pm in Italy) in the trial of failed showbusiness agent Lele Mora, showgirl-turned-politician Nicole Minetti and television host Emilio Fede.

Prosecutors in May requested seven-year prison sentences for the three as well as a life ban on holding political office. They also called for each defendant to pay a €35,000 fine and be banned from working with minors.

Among the girls allegedly recruited by the trio for parties at billionaire Berlusconi's villas was Moroccan-born Karima El-Mahroug, a then 17-year-old exotic dancer nicknamed "Ruby the Heart Stealer".

Berlusconi was sentenced in June to seven years in jail after a court found him guilty of paying for sex with her and abusing his power to hide the liaison – though the punishment is suspended on appeal.

Mora, the only one of the accused in court on Friday, said he had "confidence in the justice system" although he confessed he had "not slept a wink."

According to media reports, Minetti is on holiday in Spain. 

In his summing up speech, prosecutor Pietro Forno said the three had arranged "orgies" at Berlusconi's mansion and cited the tycoon's ex-wife
Veronica Lario, who accused her then husband of consorting with "young virgins".

His colleague Antonio Sangermano said the three were like "tasters of fine wine" and had obtained financial advantages from Berlusconi because "they know
all the secrets" of those nights.

"They carried out a sort of exam of the capacities of the young women and then injected them into the circuit of soirees," Sangermano said. Minetti was also an active participant and "performed sexual acts for money," he said.

All three deny the charges, insisting that while they may have invited girls to the premier's Milan villas, it was to attend nothing more than
elegant dinner parties.

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Romanian billionaire and seven others die in Milan plane crash

A light aircraft piloted by Romanian billionaire Dan Petrescu crashed into an empty office building near Milan on Sunday, killing him, his wife and son, and all five others aboard.

Police and rescue teams outside the office building where a small plane crashed in the Milan suburb of San Donato.
Police and rescue teams outside the office building where a small plane crashed in the Milan suburb of San Donato on October 3rd. Photo: Miguel Medina/AFP

The single-engine Pilatus PC-12 had taken off from Milan’s Linate airport shortly after 1pm headed for Olbia in the north of the Italian island of Sardinia.

It crashed just a few minutes later into a building in San Donato Milanese, a town southeast of Milan, according to aviation agency ANSV, which has opened an investigation.

Witnesses said the plane was already in flames before it crashed into an office building undergoing renovations.

Petrescu’s 65-year-old wife, who also had French nationality, and their son Dan Stefano, 30, were killed.

Italian media identified the other passengers as entrepreneur Filippo Nascimbene, a 33-year-old from Lombardy, with his wife, young son and mother-in-law, who have French nationality.

Petrescu, 68, was one of Romania’s richest men. He headed a major construction firm and owned a string of hypermarkets and malls. He also held Germany nationality, the Corriere della Sera newspaper reported.

Flames engulfed the two-storey building, next to the yellow line subway terminus.

“The impact was devastating,” Carlo Cardinali, of the Milan fire brigade, told news agency Ansa.

Deputy prosecutor Tiziana Siciliano was quoted by Corriere as saying that the plane’s black box had been recovered.