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Berlusconi denies prostitution charge

Nov. 9, 2012 at 2:28 PM

MILAN, Italy, Nov. 9 (UPI) -- Three women testified in an Italian court that money they received from former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi wasn't payment for sex.

Prosecutors allege Berlusconi, 76, had sex with as many as 33 prostitutes at his northern Italian villa over the course of several months, ANSA News Agency reported Friday.

One of the women who participated in Berlusconi's alleged sex parties said he gave her 2,000 euros a month but the money was to help her pay her bills, not because she had sex with him. Another woman said she got a similar 2,500-euro-per-month bank transfer from the wealthy former businessman.

A broadcaster on Berlusconi's television network said the money she received -- also 2,500 euros per month -- went toward a down payment and mortgage payments on a house.

The trial centers on an underage Moroccan belly dancer whom prosecutors contend was a prostitute Berlusconi paid for sex -- a charge the former premier denies.

Berlusconi was convicted in October of tax evasion and sentenced to three years in prison but that conviction remains on appeal and likely will for some time, ANSA said.

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