Berlusconi girls dressed up as Santa

Girls who attended Silvio Berlsuconi’s raunchy parties dressed up as Father Christmas, a policeman has testified at the trial of the ex-premier for allegedly having sex with an underage prostitute.

Investigator Giorgio Bertoli said he had viewed photos featuring “mutual effusions” between the girls, some of whom also dressed up as policewomen.

A series of photographs taken by one of the women showed an unmade bed surrounded by pictures of Berlusconi as a young man, the investigator said.

At a hearing in the trial in Milan last week, another policeman testified that the young woman at the centre of the trial was indeed a prostitute.

Moroccan-born Karima El Mahroug was 17 when she first met Berlusconi.

The age of consent in Italy is 14 and having sex with a prostitute is not illegal but paying for sex with a girl who is under 18 is a crime.

If convicted, Berlusconi faces a maximum sentence of three years in prison on that charge and 12 years for abuse of power after he allegedly put pressure on the police to have El Mahroug released from custody in an unrelated case.

The trial began earlier this year when Berlusconi was still in power but has been delayed for months by a number of motions put forward by his defence lawyers, as well as the slow-moving Italian judicial system.

33 women who allegedly attended the parties have been called as witnesses by the prosecution and the defence has said it wants to call George Clooney and Cristiano Ronaldo to discredit El Mahroug’s testimony.

El Mahroug told investigators she had met Hollywood heartthrob Clooney at one of Berlusconi’s parties and had also slept with Real Madrid football star Ronaldo for money. The two men both deny the claims.

Italian media earlier quoted an attendee saying that one of the women once did a striptease in a nurse’s costume as Berlusconi held up a crucifix.

Two other attendees said they had witnessed topless girls performing oral sex on a statue during erotic games around the dinner table.

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