Italian President Silvio Berlusconi is charged

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, February 9, 2011.

From the Economist:  The Italian prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, has rarely been out of trouble during his 18-year-long political career. But file 5657/2011 of the Milan prosecutors’ office looks as if it could give him his worst problems so far. The file, sent to a judge on February 9th, contains a request for Mr Berlusconi to be put on trial as soon as possible, charged with two unpleasant offences.

Mr Berlusconi is accused of buying the services of a juvenile prostitute and then trying to hide the fact by taking illegal advantage of his position. The two offences carry maximum sentences of, respectively, 3 and 12 years in prison. The prime minister denies any wrongdoing. …

Milan’s chief prosecutor, Edmondo Bruti Liberati, said that he and his colleagues had decided to ask for the prime minister to be indicted without a pre-trial hearing because of the “obviousness of the evidence” against him. One of Mr Berlusconi’s guests was a young Moroccan runaway, Karima el-Mahroug, also known as “Ruby Heartstealer”, who the prosecutors say was aged 17 at the time. Under Italian law, it is illegal to pay for sexual services of any kind if the provider is under 18. …

The Ruby case is not his only concern. He is a defendant in two trials on financial charges that are due to resume by March 11th. On March 5th a third case in which Mr Berlusconi is accused of financial irregularities will go to a pre-trial hearing.  (photo: Reuters)

Image: reuters%202%2017%2011%20Silvio%20Berlusconi.jpg