Rome, Feb 17 (IANS/AKI) Embattled Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said he was unperturbed by the approaching trial for his suspected involvement in an underage prostitution case and dismissed political observers who said his government is on the verge of collapse.
“It’s something that doesn’t worry me in the least,” Berlusconi said Wednesday during a press conference, responding to a question about the trial that is slated to begin in a Milan court April 6.
Prosecutors allege Berlusconi paid for sex with teenage Moroccan nightclub dancer Karima El Mahroug, nicknamed Ruby, on several occasions when she was 17-years old. He also abused his office by pressuring police in Milan to release her on theft charges in order to cover up their relationship, according to prosecutors.
El Mahroug, who is now 18, denies she had sex with Berlusconi, but admits receiving thousands of euros, an Audi car, jewellery and other gifts from the billionaire media tycoon.
Berlusconi denies paying El Mahroung or any other woman for sex, and claims he merely tried to help the vulnerable teenage runaway.
Berlusconi said he has a solid enough majority to complete his five-year mandate which expires in 2013.
“Our majority is strong enough to continue to govern,” he said, adding that his Northern League ally would not pull the plug on the alliance it is keeping alive.
The 74-year-old premier is already facing three trials on embezzlement, corruption and tax fraud–charge and denies wrongdoing in all, claiming he is the victim of a conspiracy of leftist magistrates.