Silvio Berlusconi 'still paying women' from bunga bunga parties
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Women giving evidence on behalf of Silvio Berlusconi in his sex trial are still receiving large cash payments from the former prime minister, it has been revealed.
Miriam Loddo, an actress and model alleged to have attended Berlusconi's so-called "bunga bunga" parties, told the court in Milan heard on Monday that he was paying her 2500 euros a month.
The billionaire businessman has said in the past that he paid the young women because their lives were "ruined" by prosecutors' allegations that they were prostitutes whom he paid for sex.
In a separate but closely related trial last Friday, a group of young women confirmed that they too continued to receive generous sums from Berlusconi and that he often paid their rent.
Eleonora De Vivo, Marysthelle Polanco, Elisa Toti, Ioana Visan and Aris Espinoza all allegedly attended the gatherings at Berlusconi's mansion at Arcore, outside Milan.
"I receive 2500 euros a month because I know Silvio Berlusconi, because I have a little girl and because after the scandal I was portrayed as a whore," Polanco said.
Visan said Berlusconi had also given her a one-off gift of 10,000 euros.
Toti denied the girls had engaged in any sexual activities at the parties, saying that "at most girls stripped down to their underwear" and that the phrase "bunga bunga" was just a joke among the female guests.
Berlusconi, who resigned a year ago, is accused of abuse of office and paying for sex with an alleged under-age prostitute, Karima El Mahrouga, a dancer who called herself Ruby the Heart Stealer.
If convicted of the two charges he could be jailed for up to 15 years.