Rome - An Italian court heard from a Cuban showgirl on Monday that “erotic” dance routines used to be performed during the so-called bunga bunga parties held by former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi.

Liza Barizonte told judges in Milan that dinners at Berlusconi's mansion used to be followed by “very entertaining theatre shows” with “erotic, but not sexual” moves.

Girls taking part used to dress up as nurses, young girls or with Arab-style costumes, Barizonte said. Like other women who testified last week at a separate trial against three Berlusconi associates, she said the former premier pays her a monthly allowance of 2 500 euros (about R27 000).

Berlusconi is facing trial for allegedly paying a minor for sex during one of these parties, and pressuring the police to release her after she had been held on suspicion of theft, claiming she was a niece of then Egyptian president Hosny Mubarak.

The girl, now 20, is Moroccan-born dancer Karima el-Mahroug, also known as Ruby Rubacuori (Heart Stealer).

Berlusconi's lawyers have called her as a witness at a hearing due to take place next month. It is unclear whether the defence will insist on also summoning football player Cristiano Ronaldo and US actor George Clooney, who failed to show up at previous trial hearings.

Ronaldo and Clooney have been linked to the trial because el-Mahroug told investigators that she saw them as guests of one of Berlusconi's parties.

On Monday, two female former Berlusconi government ministers, Mara Carfagna and Maria Stella Gelmini, denied in court that they ever took part in events with young girls, contradicting what el-Mahroug had told prosecutors. - Sapa-dpa