MILAN, Italy, June 8 (UPI) -- A showgirl testified that former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi treated her like a daughter, paying her rent while he prepared her to enter politics.
Barbara Faggioli said phone calls from Berlusconi involved a crude code, the Italian news agency ANSA reported Friday. Berlusconi was "Betty" and money was "shoes."
She denied receiving payment for sex, calling Berlusconi "very gentlemanly." She said she and other showgirls danced and sang at Berlusconi's parties but weren't required to strip or engage in sex acts.
"Berlusconi always gave me help as if he were my father," Faggioli said.
She said he continues to pay for her apartment in Milan and that he was grooming her for a political career. While he was prime minister, Berlusconi tried to convince her to change careers and got her to attend city council meetings in Milan, she said.
Berlusconi, who left office last November after his party lost its majority after years of allegations of sexual and financial misconduct by the prime minister, is on trial in Milan. He allegedly paid for sex with Karima "Ruby" El Mahroug, a Moroccan-born runaway who had become a dancer and was underage at the time.