-- A teenager that Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi helped get released from prison, triggering allegations he abused his power, had sex with the premier, the girl's former roommate said in transcripts printed in court documents.
Earlier this week, Berlusconi denied ever having paid for sex with anyone, and also denied having sex with the teenager El Mahrough, nicknamed Ruby. She has also denied having sex with him. She is now 18, but was a 17-year-old nightclub dancer at the time of the alleged activity, from February through May. Ruby has said in an interview she told everyone she was 24.
But, the former roommate told police, "I remember that she would say that she was a close friend of the Prime Minister ... she said she was often in the premier's house, where she had dinner, danced and had sex with him and who gave her a lot of money."
In a video statement Wednesday, Berlusconi said that he would like to defend himself to prosecutors but he "can't because they don't have the jurisdiction to rule in this case."
"I am calm, the government will continue to work ... the truth will always win," the prime minister said.
Milan prosecutors want to search the offices of a Berlusconi employee, suspecting that the employee paid women to have sex with the premier. The prosecutors say the teen is one of the women involved in prostitution with Berlusconi.
Prosecutors have named the alleged money man as Giuseppe Spinelli, who works for Berlusconi's media company. Police accuse three other Berlusconi associates of procuring prostitutes for him.
A parliamentary committee would have to approve the request because Berlusconi's properties are automatically protected from search by the authorities because he is a lawmaker. The transcripts were submitted as part of the request to conduct the search.
Most of the 21 members of the committee are members of Berlusconi's party. The head of the committee, Pierluigi Castagnetti, has said the panel will begin consideration on Wednesday and take several sessions before reaching a conclusion.
Berlusconi called Milan police in late May, urging Ruby's release from prison. She had been arrested on theft charges. In his conversation with police, it appeared that Berlusconi knew she was a minor, according to court documents. Ruby has also said he found out her true age about that time.
However, a transcript of a police interview with Ruby's former boyfriend, also a policeman, suggests Berlusconi knew Ruby's age earlier than May. The ex-boyfriend told police that he found out Ruby was a minor in January or February, "and it was then that she told me that the Prime Minister found out that she was a minor.
"She told me that at the beginning of her relationship with the premier, the premier didn't know that she was a minor. But afterwards, she told him that she was a minor," the ex-boyfriend said.
Although police had been investigating the case for some time, a formal investigation was opened in December. The Milan prosecutor has said Berlusconi is being investigated for complicity in prostitution with a minor and abuse of power.
Berlusconi's attorneys have called the investigation "absurd and groundless" and a "grave interference" in the prime minister's private life.
In another transcript, of a phone call allegedly between Ruby and Spinelli, she asks him to "please don't forget to forward him my request ... because he told me that he would have helped me during the whole period, but I haven't heard him, and I also lost the contact." She tells Spinelli, "I just need 5,000 euro." There is no indication in the transcript of what the money was being requested for.
On Monday, Berlusconi said on television, "It is absurd even to think that I've paid to have rapport with a woman. It is something that I've never done, not even once in my life. It is something that I find degrading for my dignity."
In the documents, prosecutors also accuse Berlusconi of providing some young women with apartments in Milan.
In an interview over the weekend, Ruby said she had received 7,000 euros (about $9,300) from Berlusconi the first time they met, on Valentine's Day 2010, because a friend told Berlusconi she needed help. She said she was a guest at several dinners he gave, but did not know him well.
In the interview, broadcast on Italy's Sky TG24 television channel, she said she told him and others she was 24 "because I didn't want people to know that I was a minor."
Berlusconi said he is now in a "stable, affectionate relationship" since separating from his second wife, Veronica Lario, in 2009. Italian media reported then that Lario decided to leave him after press reports that he went to an 18-year-old girl's birthday party, though Berlusconi and the girl denied any inappropriate relationship.
On Saturday, Berlusconi called allegations that he paid a teenager for sex "mud" thrown on him by political opponents who are trying to get rid of him.
"But this time they've surpassed any limit," he said in a statement. "The mud will fall on those who use justice as a political weapon."
Italy's Constitutional Court struck down key parts of a law that would protect Berlusconi from prosecution. The law was designed to halt criminal proceedings against top government officials for 18 months on the grounds that they are too busy to appear in court.
Separate trials against Berlusconi are pending. He's accused of bribing a witness of commit perjury in one case and of tax fraud and other financial irregularities in another. Both trials began, but had been suspended when the immunity law was passed. The premier has also denied those charges, saying they are politically motivated.