Karima El-Mahroug, a belly dancer and former hostess for nightclubs, testified about Berlusconi's parties, providing details for a trial focused on three Berlusconi aides: Emilio Fede, Nicole Minetti, and Dario "Lele" Mora. The defendants are accused of recruiting women (including a minor) for prostitution at Berlusconi's parties as well as abetting prostitution.
El-Mahroug admitted to having received money from Berlusconi on multiple occasions. She attended about a half-dozen of the former prime minister's parties and claimed that Berlusconi personally handed her up to 3,000 euros during each party. El-Mahroug also claimed that Berlusconi gave her 30,000 euros so that she can open a beautician's salon. However, she denied ever having sex with Berlusconi or being a prostitute.
El-Mahroug provided descriptions of Berlusconi's parties, including Minetti having dressed up as a nun and stripping for Berlusconi. She said another woman dressed up as President Barrack Obama and also stripped.
As descriptive as El-Mahroug's testimony was, prosecutors in a separate trial involving Berlusconi believe that her testimony is unreliable.
Amidst all of this controversy, we may be able to find a silver lining. While Berlusconi was in office, he appointed female models and actresses to a portion of his cabinet. Berlusconi's apparent love for women contributed to an increased representation of women in politics. Recently, Enrico Letta, Italy’s new prime minister, has appointed women to his 22-member cabinet.
Is this sort of method of helping women break glass ceilings positive? That is definitely debatable. And the same can be said about Berlusconi’s choice in stripper costumes.
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