Ex-PM of Italy Silvio Berlusconi was found not guilty in the "bunga-bunga" party case

22 Sep. Silvio Berlusconi

Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was cleared of paying witnesses to fabricate stories about his infamous "bunga-bunga" parties.

The 86-year-old multibillionaire media tycoon was charged with paying young showgirls and other witnesses to provide false testimony regarding the allegedly pornographic parties.

The remaining 28 defendants were also found not guilty, including Moroccan dancer Karima El Mahroug, also known as Ruby, who was involved in a previous Berlusconi case.

Berlusconi has had numerous legal battles.

Right-wing senator Ruby successfully appealed his conviction for paying for sex with a minor prostitute in the Ruby case. He denied having had sex with Ruby, and she denied ever having worked as a prostitute.

He has asserted innocence throughout his legal proceedings and charged that the prosecution is out for revenge on account of his political views. He insisted that the gatherings, which some people had referred to as "orgies," were actually formal dinners.

In 2013, Berlusconi was sentenced for tax fraud, which was the only trial that resulted in a conviction. Italian justice was lenient with him because of his advanced age; he completed a year of volunteer work at a nursing home close to Milan.

Karima El Mahroug, or andquot;Ruby", leaving court after her acquittal, 15 Feb 23
Karima El Mahroug, a.k.a. "Ruby," leaving the courtroom after being cleared.

Between 1994 and 2011, Berlusconi served as prime minister three times. In the "bunga-bunga" trial, he was accused of paying witnesses millions of euros in hush money, but he insisted that the money was given as compensation for people connected to the notorious parties who had their reputations damaged.

Due to his tax fraud conviction, he was temporarily disqualified from holding political office, but he was elected to the Senate in the 2022 elections.

His Forza Italia party is a significant player in the government of Giorgia Meloni, the leader of Italy's right-wing coalition. Her praise for his acquittal was that it "puts an excellent end to a protracted legal case that also had significant repercussions on Italian political and institutional life.".

Vladimir Putin and Berlusconi developed a close friendship while he was the leader of Italy. Additionally, this week, Berlusconi said something controversial about the conflict in Ukraine that was denounced by Kiev.

On Sunday, Berlusconi claimed he would "never" have had a meeting with Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine, like Ms. Meloni did last Thursday in Brussels during an EU summit.

President Zelensky would not have started bombing the two Donbas regions in eastern Ukraine, according to Berlusconi, if he had stopped doing so. So I judge the behavior of this gentleman very, very negatively," he said.

After Berlusconi's remarks, Ms. Meloni reaffirmed Italian support for Mr. Zelensky. A supporter of Zelensky named Berlusconi "a VIP agitator who is acting in the interests of Russian propaganda," according to Mykhailo Podolyak. He claimed that because of his friendship with Putin, he was "trading away Italy's reputation."

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