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Berlusconi recruited 'harem' of prostitutes for his 'bunga bunga' parties

Silvio Berlusconi hired more than 30 women, most of them prostitutes, to attend his infamous 'bunga bunga' parties at his mansion in Rome, Italian investigators said on Thursday

Prosecutors presented the results of a two-year investigation into claims that Mr Berlusconi entertained what the Italian press describe as "a harem" of young models, actresses and starlets at his private residence in Rome in 2008 and 2009, reports the Telegraph.

They said that at least 30 women, some of them from South America and Eastern Europe, were invited to the parties and that many "prostituted themselves" with the prime minister in return for cash or other gifts.

A well-known Italian actress, Manuela Arcuri, was allegedly promised the chance to host the annual San Remo musical festival in exchange for sleeping with Mr Berlusconi, but refused the offer.

Eight people were placed under investigation for allegedly aiding and abetting prostitution, including Gianpaolo Tarantini, a businessman from the Adriatic port of Bari.

He supplied the women to Mr Berlusconi in the hope of advancing his business interests, prosecutors from Bari said.

The group also included Sabina Began, a German-born model who is often described as the "queen bee" of Mr Berlusconi's circle of female admirers.

The eight suspects "knowingly contributed" to "the criminal workings" of the prostitution ring, prosecutors said.

The list of women included Patrizia D'Addario, a self-confessed call girl who wrote a book about her alleged sexual encounter with the premier; Ioanna Visan, a Romanian showgirl; Francesca Lana, an underwear model; Camille Cordeiro Charao, a men's magazine model; and Barbara Montereale, Sara Tommasi and Barbara Guerra, all aspiring showgirls.

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