Monday, March 14, 2011
Silvio Berlusconi scandal: Italy probes Ruby the Heart Stealer birth certificate claims
Italian prosecutors launched an investigation on Monday into an alleged attempt to alter the birth certificate of the teenage dancer at the heart of Silvio Berlusconi's forthcoming under age sex trial.
The inquiry will probe recent reports in Il Fatto Quotidiano daily that "two mysterious Italians offered a significant sum to an employee at the registry office in Fkih in Morocco" to alter the Moroccan-born girl's date of birth.
Mr Berlusconi will stand trial in April for allegedly having paid Karima El Mahroug, nicknamed "Ruby the Heart Stealer", for sex when she was just 17.
Paying for sex from an under age girl is illegal in Italy and carries a maximum sentence of three years.
The registry worker refused to alter Miss El Mahroug's date of birth to make her appear older than she was, Il Fatto Quotidiano said.
Miss El Mahroug was born on November 1, 1992 and attended parties at Mr Berlusconi's house in February 2010.
Both she and Mr Berlusconi deny having sex.
It was the premier's lawyer, Niccolo Ghedini, who called for an inquiry into the alleged attempt by the mysterious Italian pair to bribe the employee.
Mr Berlusconi is also accused of persuading police to release Miss El Mahroug after she was arrested for alleged theft.
He claims he mistakenly believed her to be the niece of former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, and had been dutifully helping a fellow leader avoid diplomatic fallout.