Silvio Berlusconi is facing new allegations that he has been using prostitutes at a time when his government is preparing legislation to penalize streetwalkers and their clients. Maria Teresa De Nicolo, an Italian prostitute, claimed at a corruption inquiry that she was one of several women to be paid by a businessman from Bari to attend dinners at Berlusconi’s private residence in Rome. De Nicolo said that Berlusconi gave her presents on the night she spent with two other women in Berlusconi’s bed. “I, the two girls from Rome and Berlusconi were in the bed,” she was quoted as saying. The businessman, Gianpaolo Tarantini, is one of several suspects in an investigation into alleged corruption in the health service in Puglia, a region in south-eastern Italy. Tarantini, who denies wrongdoing, has not been indicted, and Berlusconi claims he did not know the girls were paid.