Silvio Berlusconi, former Italian prime minister and billionaire media mogul, has won an appeal against his 2013 conviction for paying an under-age prostitute for sex.
His seven-year sentence was overturned by judges in Milan, meaning the 77-year old politician is not guilty of paying the then-17 year old nightclub dancer Karima El-Mahroug, known as Ruby the Heartstealer, for sex. Both Berlusconi and “Ruby” denied in court that they had had sex.
Italian prosecutors can still appeal today’s decision to Italy’s highest appeals court, the Court of Cassation, but that decision is not likely to come before next year.
While Berlusconi has won his appeal, the 2010 trial exposed his life of extravagant “bunga-bunga” parties, where glamorous, scantily-dressed and emotionally-generous showgirls and aspiring television stars entertained Berlusconi and his friends.
The former prime minister remains mired in legal problems, however, with further trials in connection with his business dealings still ahead.
News of the successful appeal came as he was leaving a home for Alzheimer’s patients where he is carrying out a sentence of community service in a separate tax fraud conviction.
Berlusconi was also banned from public office and ousted from Italy’s Senate as a result of the tax fraud conviction.