Source: Agencies | 2012-4-24 | NEWSPAPER EDITION
THE Moroccan-born nightclub dancer at the center of former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi's sex trial told friends he was ready to pay millions for her silence, according to wiretaps published yesterday.
"He's crazy. He's crazy for me at the moment," Karima El Mahroug, better known by her stage name of Ruby, told a friend in a conversation recorded by investigators in October 2010 and available in audio files on the website of the daily La Repubblica.
The wiretaps contain no substantial new revelations about the lurid "bunga bunga" scandal which overshadowed Berlusconi's final months in office but reinforce allegations that he made frantic efforts to quell news about his relationship with Ruby.
The "Rubygate" affair, most spectacular of the many sexual scandals surrounding Berlusconi, is particularly dangerous for him because it centers on the allegation that he had paid El Mahroug for sex while she was still a minor - a criminal offense.
He is also accused of using his office to have her released from police custody after she was accused of theft in an unrelated case.
Both he and Mahroug deny they had sex and Berlusconi denies ever paying for sex with anybody.
In other tapes, Ruby tells friends that Berlusconi told her to "act crazy" and in one, says she and her lawyer had asked for 5 million euros (US$ 6.563 million) to ensure her silence.
Since the opening of his trial in Milan a year ago, a number of young women have described striptease "bunga bunga" parties at Berlusconi's luxury villa outside Milan.
Berlusconi, undermined by sex and corruption scandals, was forced from office last November.