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Milan prosecutors announced on May 13 that they are seeking a six year jail sentence and lifelong ban on holding public office for former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi over charges of bribery and underage prostitution.

They believe “there’s no doubt that Karima El Mahroug [the 17-year-old Moroccan girl who Berlusconi claimed was the niece of Hosni Mubarak in order to avoid her being jailed for theft] had sex with Berlusconi.” The politician, who is alleged to have paid Ms El Mahroug more than €4.5m for sex in 2010, said the claims are the product of “lies and hate”. The court is expected to announce its verdict on June 24.

Berlusconi’s supporters staged a demonstration last week against “communist judges” after he lost his appeal against a conviction for tax fraud, which has jeopardised the unity of the coalition government with Democratic Party (PD).