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Be careful who you (allegedly) gift a Rolex

Karima (Ruby) el Mahroug
Karima (Ruby) el Mahroug

Former Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Bertusconi found himself with even more trouble when his alleged hired girl, Karima (Ruby) el Mahroug dismissed a series of sworn statements while on the stand in an Italian courtroom May 24th.  El Mahroug is at the center of a complicated story and involved with multiple lawsuits as a star witness and injured party and not as a defendant.

Italian media mogul and former Italian Prime Minister, held “bunga bunga” parties at his residence while Prime Minister in 2010.  Bunga Bunga parties allegedly involved young women dressing up like nuns, Barack Obama, or a Milan magistrate dancing provocatively and stripping down to underwear for the premier. El Mahroug’s testimony illustrated the sexual atmosphere of Berlusconi’s parties where young women would dance and many of whom said they received money from the Premier.

On trial in this particular case are three Berlusconi aides who are accused of recruiting women for prostitution at the parties and abetting prostitution, including that of a minor.  The other case where El Mahroug is a witness is of Berlusconi being accused of having sex with El Mahroug who was 17 at the time.

Keep Your Story Straight

Karima (Ruby) el Mahroug
Karima (Ruby) el Mahroug

At the center of this particular case are El Mahroug’s initial sworn statements indicated that she received 187,000 Euros from Berlusconi, two Rolex watches and other jewelry. El Mahroug now asserts that she brought herself a Rolex while visiting friends in Sicily. El Mahroug states that she received only one piece of jewelry from Berlusconi –a cross that is now confiscated by investigators. El Mahroug disavows a list of jewelry that she previously gave prosecutors.   When pressed by prosecutor Peitro Forno on why the precise amounts of Euros in her statements, El Mahroug indicated “I invented this number to be more credible in my wild stories.”

Does it matter that it is a Rolex?

Whether it is believable that a young dancer from Morocco can afford a Rolex, it certainly speaks to brand awareness and the attention that Rolex brings to a story.  Whether its 187,000 Euros or Rolex watches, it is apparent that they are seen as having the same value. If it were any other watch other than a Rolex, Swiss or otherwise, the watch detail would have been omitted. Because the world quickly recognizes Rolex as a quality brand that is not necessarily accessible to everyman, it is an important detail in the media’s eyes.

For all you Prime Ministers out there, be careful who you gift a Rolex. The gift will be called out by the media bring you attention that you don’t necessarily want.  In that vein, if we could only ask John F. Kennedy whether that gold DateJust with an inscription to Marilyn Monroe floating around in collection circles was really a true story… (more on that in another article).

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