"Ready for dinner"
The Moroccan teenager at the center of a prostitution scandal that has sent Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi to trial says she has done nothing wrong and that “all the gold in the world” could not compensate her for the hurt she has suffered.
In an email exchange with The Associated Press on Wednesday and Thursday, Karima El Mahrough, who goes by the stage name Ruby, lamented that she has been “treated as a prostitute by all the Italian and foreign media.”
“I WANT TO BE COMPENSATED for having been hurt so much and all the gold in the world would not be enough,” she wrote to the AP.
Ruby, now 18, requested euro15,000 ($20,340) for a full TV interview, saying: “I don’t do anything for nothing.”
The AP, a nonprofit media organization, does not pay for interviews.
Berlusconi was indicted Tuesday on charges that he paid for sex with Ruby when she was 17 and under age, then used his influence to cover it up. The trial begins April 6 in Milan.
Berlusconi has denied ever paying for sex. Ruby, in a Jan. 19 television interview on a TV channel owned by Berlusconi, said she met the 74-year-old premier at a dinner party at his villa and that he gave her euro7,000 ($9,500) that evening, but never “put a finger on me.”
The scandal broke last year when it emerged that Berlusconi had intervened on Ruby’s behalf after she was accused of stealing euro3,000 ($4,100) from a friend and detained by Milan police.
Berlusconi’s defense says the premier believed at the time that Ruby was a relative of then-Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, and that the premier wanted to avoid a diplomatic incident. Ruby has said that she lied when she told Berlusconi this.
The AP does not name alleged victims of sexual crimes unless they have come forward publicly.