Milan, Feb 15: An Italian judge on Tuesday ordered Premier Silvio Berlusconi to stand trial on charges he paid for sex with a 17-year-old Moroccan girl and then tried to cover it up.
Judge Cristina Di Censo handed down the indictment with a terse statement. The trial is to begin April 6.
While Berlusconi has stood trial on a number of business-related charges, this is the first time the 74-year-old billionaire businessman is being tried for personal conduct. Berlusconi has denied wrongdoing.
Prosecutors allege Berlusconi paid for sex with the Moroccan girl, nicknamed Ruby, then used his influence to get her out of police custody when she was detained for the unrelated suspected theft of ¤3,000 ($4,103). They allege that Berlusconi feared her relationship to him would be revealed.
Both Berlusconi and Ruby have denied having sexual relations, although she has said Berlusconi gave her ¤7,000 ($9,550) on their first meeting. AP