Berlusconi now involved in 'Rubygate'

Oct. 29, 2010 at 11:34 PM

ROME, Oct. 29 (UPI) -- Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is caught up in a new scandal with allegations he ordered police to free an aspiring teenage model suspected of theft.

Karima Keyek, 17, has said she attended parties where models and starlets entertained Berlusconi and his associates with sex games. She is now living in a women's shelter near Genoa.

The affair has become known in Italy as Rubygate because Keyek called herself Ruby Rubacuore, the Italian word for heartbreaker, on her Facebook page. Berlusconi allegedly placed a midnight call to police in Milan in May telling them to release her after she was picked up on suspicion of theft.

Keyek has apologized for causing so much trouble.

"Above all I'm sorry because I've involved people who just wanted to help me and never asked for anything in return," she said.

Berlusconi has come close to admitting he interfered in a police investigation.

"I'm a kind-hearted person," Berlusconi said Thursday. "I like to give help to people who are in need of it."

Dario Franceschini, a major opposition leader, said that in any other country Berlusconi would already have resigned.

Keyek, the daughter of Moroccans living in Sicily, says she ran away from her parents at 13 to pursue a career as an entertainer and model.

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