'Ruby The Heartstealer' Karima El Mahroug Arrives For Silvio Berlusconi Sex Scandal Trial (PICTURES)

The nightclub dancer "Ruby The Heartstealer" at the centre of the Silvio Berlusconi sex scandal has arrived to testify in court, where the former Prime Minister is accused of paying for sex with her while she was underage.

Berlusconi, 76, who is seeking a fifth term in government at general elections in February, is accused of paying Karima El Mahroug for sex when she was under 18, which is the minimum legal age for prostitution in Italy.

The billionaire media mogul denies all charges and El Mahroug, a Moroccan who is now 20, has said she never had sex with him.

Karima El Mahroug, arriving at court in Milan for Silvio Berlusconi's trial

Looking composed and wearing a demure black jacket and grey scarf, El Mahroug has kept a low profile since the scandal, and now has a one-year-old daughter with her nightclub owner boyfriend, who accompanied her into the courtroom in Milan.

It is the first time that the Moroccan dancer has appeared to testify, but lawyers for Berlusconi are attempting last-ditch measures to delay the trial.

The Financial Times reported that his lawyer Niccolò Ghedini has asked the judge to consider delaying the trial until after the election, on the basis of "legitimate impediment" - because Berlusconi would be too busy to follow the trial and it would be used against him on the campaign trail.

Sex with a prostitute who is under 18 years of age is a crime in Italy.

The scandal took on a further political flavour at the time it broke, with Berlusconi being accused of "abuse of office" after apparently telling a police chief in Milan that Mahroug was related to Hosni Mubarak, then the beleaguered president of Egypt, during the Arab uprisings.

Her appearance at the trial was due in December, but she told prosecutors she was holidaying in Mexico, and was slapped with a €5,000 fine for her non-appearance

Berlusconi is leading his centre-right People of Freedom party at the national elections next month, with his poll ratings consistently lower than his centre-left rivals, but still rising steadily.

He could be sentenced to up to 15 years in prison, but is allowed two appeals if found guilty.