Could this be the knock-out blow his detractors have been looking for? The Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, has been placed under investigation for having sex with an underage prostitute. He has also been accused of taking advantage of his position to pressurise the police.
Karima El Mahroug, otherwise known as Ruby Rubacuori, is a Moroccan teenager who told last year told investigators that she had attended parties at Berlusconi's estate near Milan - one of which ended in an erotic game called ‘Bunga Bunga’. She was 17 at the time.
Although she has denied having sex with the Italian premier, she has acknowledged that she accepted a gift of several thousand euros from him.
Berlusconi had not been charged, but he has been invited to present himself for questioning, according to the prosecutor's statement, and the offences carry sentences of up to 15 years in jail.
In an interview in La Repubblica, Mahroug said how she would always be grateful to Berlusconi and told how he suffered from loneliness.
‘To the extent that I knew Berlusconi, he is not so happy,’ she said. ‘On the surface he may seem happy, because he has all that money, that career: a man who everything he touches turns to gold; everything he touches works. But that's not everything in life. Someone with all that money doesn't even have wishes.’