A Moroccan official was offered a bribe to backdate the birth certificate of the Moroccan-born erotic dancer at the heart of the sex scandal engulfing Silvio Berlusconi, it was claimed yesterday. The Moroccan registry official was promised “a large amount of money” to change the birth date of Karima El Mahroug, known by her stage name as Ruby the Heart Stealer, according to an Italian newspaper, Il Fatto Quotidiano.

Berlusconi will face trial on April 6 accused of paying for sex with El Mahroug when she was 17 and allegedly working as a prostitute. Having sex with a prostitute who is under the age of 18 is a crime in Italy which carries a penalty of up to three years in prison. But if the Prime Minister’s lawyers could prove that the teenager was over the age of 18, the under age prostitution allegation would be dismissed.

The unidentified Moroccan official, a woman, told Il Fatto that she was approached on February 7 by three men – two Italians and a Moroccan – in her office in the town of Fkih Ben Salah in central Morocco, where El Mahroug was born. The Moroccan man asked her in Arabic if she could backdate the nightclub dancer’s birth certificate by two years.

Lawyers for Berlusconi said the claims were “laughable” but opposition parties demanded that an urgent investigation be launched into the allegations.

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