MILAN, Italy, Jan. 27 (UPI) -- Italian prosecutors rebutted a Moroccan official's claim Monday the prostitute at the center of former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's conviction was 18.
A Moroccan government minister said he signed a birth certificate for Karima "Ruby" el-Mahroug, a young Moroccan woman who prosecutors said had sex with Berlusconi for money when she was 17 during one of Berlusconi's now-infamous "bunga bunga" parties at a posh villa in Milan.
A court handed the former prime minister a seven-year prison term after convicting him of soliciting sex from a minor and using his government powers to cover it up. The case remains open on appeal and prosecutors swatted down the Moroccan minister's claim, saying he was likely a recipient of a Berlusconi bribe, ANSA news agency reported.
Prosecutors point to al-Mahroug's passport and conversations widely reported by witnesses about her 18th birthday party, which took place in November, after the alleged encounter with Berlusconi.
The former center-right politician has maintained his innocence in this and several other cases against him, saying he is the subject of a plot by left-leaning elements within the judiciary to eliminate him from the political arena.