[QODLink]
Europe
Berlusconi denies latest scandal
Both the Italian PM and the woman he is accused of paying for underage sex, reject allegations.
Last Modified: 20 Jan 2011 11:19 GMT



Silvio Berlusconi, Italy's prime minister, and the young woman he has been accused of paying for sex when she was underage, have both denied the allegations.

Karima El Mahroug, a Moroccan teenager who has been nicknamed "Ruby the heart stealer", appeared on a TV station founded by Silvio Berlusconi to deny the claims.

She said Berlusconi paid her $9,500 when she went to a Valentine's dinner at his villa, but that "he didn't put a finger on me".

But as Al Jazeera's Tania Page reports, the 74-year-old Berlusconi said the allegations are politically motivated and that he did nothing to be ashamed of.

Sabina Bellosi, a journalist for Agenzia Giornalistica Italia, an Italian news agency in Rome, said the latest allegations mark "the most serious and potentially explosive scandal yet" for Berlusconi, but are not likely to affect his popular support.

"It is a moment of instability in Italy and impossible to forecast the outcome," she told Al Jazeera.

"The most important thing for him is to have a strong political majority in parliament at this moment, and he is trying to build it.

"I think he still has strong popular support in Italy. The last survey told us that he still has 52 per cent of Italians who would vote for him, and [with] such strong support, I think he will have no problem.

"He has survived many problems, many scandals. He won a confidence vote just last month."

Source:
Al Jazeera
Topics in this article
People
Country
Featured on Al Jazeera
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
More than one-quarter of Gaza's population has been displaced, causing a humanitarian crisis.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Featured
NSA whistleblower Snowden and journalist Greenwald accuse Wellington of mass spying on New Zealanders.
Whatever the referendum's outcome, energy created by the grassroots independence campaign has changed Scottish politics.
Traders and farmers struggle to cope as restrictions on travel prevent them from doing business and attending to crops.
Unique mobile messaging service, mMitra, helps poor pregnant women in Mumbai fight against maternal mortality.
Influential independence figure has been key in promoting Scottish nationalism, but will his efforts succeed?
join our mailing list