Mar 4 - Karima el Mahroug, aka Ruby Rubacuori (Ruby Heartstealer) - the 18-year-old linked to a sex scandal involving Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi - is the special guest at a glittering Opera Ball in Vienna. Doug MacLaurin reports.
Vienna's famed Opera Ball drew the usual celebrity and gliteratti turnout among its high society guests, including rocker and activist Bob Geldof. But all eyes were on the controversial star guest in the middle of the Italian political storm dubbed "Rubygate" involving Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. 18-year-old night-club dancer Karima el Mahroug, better known in news headlines by her stage name "Ruby Heartstealer", was the special guest of Vienna's construction magnate and socialite, Richard Lugner. Mobbed by media as she arrived with Lugner at the Ball, Mahroug made no comments to the press. Lugner, who is 78 this year, has in the past often been accompanied to the event, the highlight of Vienna's ball season, by high profile women including Paris Hilton, Dita von Teese and Sophia Loren. But his choice of date this year has caused a scandal in Austrian society, Mahroug has become the focus of an investigation into Berlusconi, who has been ordered to stand trial in April on charges of paying the dancer for sex when she was under the age of 18 and abusing his position to get her out of police custody. Doug MacLaurin, Reuters.