In the midst of yet another sex scandal, this one involving 17-year-old aspiring model widely known as "Ruby," Berlusconi defended his lifestyle, saying "I love life, I love women," according to the AP.
Berlusconi acknowledged that he "helped" Ruby after she was arrested in May for theft, but says he did not interfere in the justice system, the AP reports. The Italian paper Corriere della Sera is reporting that a phone call was made on Ruby's behalf claiming that she was the daughter of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, says the AP. Opposition groups have called for Berlusconi's resignation if it proves that he abused his power to secure Ruby's release.
Ruby's allegations have been at times contradictory, and center around her attendance at "bunga-bunga" parties, apparently a reference to lewd behavior at the PM's luxurious villa. Karima Keyek, the girl's real name, has denied having sex with the 74-year-old media tycoon, but has given details of the parties to the police.
The PM has been accused of similar events before, including an alleged affair last year with Noemi Letizia, an aspiring model, after he attended her eighteenth birthday party and gave her an expensive necklace. Berlusconi denied the affair. The allegations are also being compared with the scandal over Patrizia D'Addario, a call girl who claimed to have been paid to sleep with Berlusconi. The Catholic magazine La Famiglia Cristiana has described Berlusconi's penchant for beautiful women as "a disease, something uncontrollable," reports the Telegraph.
Berlusconi is facing other pressures at home, including an EU austerity push and a trash crisis in Naples.
Berlusconi's lawyer has now been holding meetings with other young women who attended parties at the villa, the Guardian is reporting.