Berlusconi Accused of Bribing ‘Bunga Bunga’ Witnesses

An Italian court says the former Prime Minister paid off women who were implicated in his now-infamous parties

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Tony Gentil / Reuters

Italian center-right leader Silvio Berlusconi at the Senate in Rome, on Oct. 2, 2013.

Italy’s former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi is being accused of foul play — yet again. An Italian court says that Berlusconi and his lawyers tampered with evidence by paying off witnesses in a trial related to his notorious “Bunga Bunga” parties, the Associated Press reports. Berlusconi was already convicted on Nov. 21 of paying an underage prostitute for sex at one such party.

Testimony and telephone wiretaps point to Berlusconi bringing together about a dozen young women at his Milan mansion on Jan. 15, 2011 to meet with his lawyers after their homes were searched as part of a police investigation. The court judges wrote that from then on the women began receiving 2,500 euros from Berlusconi each month and offered curiously identical testimonies in court.

The court made the accusation as they explained the decision to convict three of Berlusconi’s former associates of procuring girls to prostitute themselves at these parties. The court ruled last week that Berlusconi will have to serve a seven-year jail sentence and lifetime political ban for paying a prostitute — though the ex-prime minister claims he did not have sex with her. The court ruled that the young girl “inciting [Berlusconi’s] sexual instincts” with naked dancing was enough to warrant such a sentence.