Italy's prime minister allegedly paid to have sex with an underage prostitute who demanded more than $6 million to keep quiet.
Italy's prime minister is no stranger to sex scandals, but a leading Catholic newspaper calls the latest revelations “a devastating tornado.”
Prosecutors are investigating allegations that 74-year-old Silvio Berlusconi paid for sex with an underage prostitute.
Known as Ruby the heart stealer, the girl was reportedly 1-years-old when she attended parties at Berlusconi's villa. Investigators say wiretaps show she asked him for more than $6.5 million to keep quiet.
The young woman, now 18, denies having sex with the prime minister, although she admits he gave her about $10,000.
Prosecutors are also looking into whether Berlusconi used his influence to get the teenager out of jail, where she was being held on suspicion of theft. They say that is abuse of his office and would carry a 12 year prison sentence.
The scandal is dominating the headlines in Italy, with newspapers publishing all the tawdry details, and the allegations aren't limited to just one young prostitute. Prosecutors say Berlusconi paid a significant number of prostitutes to attend parties at his Milan mansion.
In a televised address, Berlusconi said he's the target of political persecution.
Just last week, Italy's highest court partly removed Berlusconi's immunity from prosecution. Opposition leaders are demanding his resignation, but when asked if he would [resign] Berlusconi told reporters, "Are you crazy?"
The teenager at the center of the probe says she's never been a prostitute and that the prime minister never touched her. She said in a television interview that she was 24 when she met Berlusconi.