International - POSTED: 2012/12/18 00:18
A Milan court fined a Moroccan woman at the center of Silvio Berlusconi's sex-for-hire scandal €500 ($650) on Monday for failing to appear as a witness twice at the former premier's trial. It ordered her to testify in January.
Karima el-Mahroug, also known as Ruby, is the last witness to be called in the sensational trial that accuses Berlusconi of having paid for sex with el-Mahroug when she was 17, and then trying to cover it up. Both deny having had sex.
The court ordered el-Mahroug, who is in Mexico on vacation, to testify on Jan. 14, confirming the necessity of her testimony.
Prosecutors have accused the defense, which called el-Mahroug as a witness, of engaging in a strategy to delay a verdict — which has included calling witnesses who have failed to show. Italian law does not carry particularly strict penalties against witnesses who fail to appear, and in some cases the court may decide their participation is not essential.