VIENNA, March 4 (UPI) -- A media frenzy erupted around the 18-year-old Moroccan woman Italian leader Silvio Berlusconi allegedly paid for sex as she appeared in Vienna, observers say.
Karima El Mahroug, the Moroccan teen beauty Italian Premier Berlusconi allegedly paid to have sex, made her way down the red carpet amidst paparazzi entering the Vienna Opera Ball Thursday night, Italy's news agency ANSA reported.
She was accompanied by her host for the evening, real estate entrepreneur Richard Lugner, 78, who Austrian tabloids allege paid El Mahroug $56,000 to attend the ball.
El Mahroug, nicknamed "Ruby Heartstealer," is at the center of a sex scandal that will bring Italy's controversial leader brought to trial April 6.
Austrian tabloid Oesterreich called her the "star of the evening," but the paper reported in the days preceding the event the ball's official matron, Desiree Treichl-Stuergkh, had been less than enthusiastic about El Mahroug's pending appearance.
Headlines in the tabloid read "Lady against the tart" and "Bunga bunga against high culture," referring to a salacious sex party game alleged to have occurred at a Berlusconi villa, ANSA said.