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Divorce settlement of €100,000 a day for Berlusconi's ex

Saturday, 29 December 2012 - 3:50pm IST

£80,000-a-day divorce settlement for the wife shamed by Berlusconi's bunga bunga antics makes it a happy Christmas for Mrs Berlusconi No 2.

Silvio Berlusconi must pay euros 3 million a month - about pounds 80,000 a day - to his former wife Veronica Lario but will keep all his properties, according to a legal separation approved on Christmas Day.

The former Italian prime minister agreed to payments totalling euros 36 million a year (pounds 29.4?million) to Miss Lario but successfully argued against her claims on the bulk of his fortune, including the family property portfolio and his business interests.

The size of the settlement provoked a strong reaction in a country where austerity reforms and a continuing recession have made it harder to make ends meet.

"It is an amount that for us common mortals seems like a joke," said Laura Laurenzi, a society journalist. "Even euros 1,000 a day is a joke in these times of crisis, not to mention 100 times that.

"On the other hand, it is right that the alimony is proportional to the patrimony of the husband. Everything has a price."

Italy's civil code says that the standard of living shared by the couple before separating must be maintained when there is economic disparity between them. Mr Berlusconi ranks 169 on the Forbes list of billionaires, with a reported net worth of more than euros 4?billion.

Miss Lario, 56, was particularly keen to have Villa Belvedere, the estate near Milan where the couple raised their three children during their 22-year marriage, but the judge ruled it would remain Mr Berlusconi's as their children were no longer minors.

Mr Berlusconi spends an estimated euros 1.8?million a year to maintain the 120,000 sq ft home, which is worth euros 78?million. The agreement formally ends the high-profile relationship which began more than three decades ago. The Bologna-born actress caught Mr Berlusconi's eye in 1980 while acting in a play in Milan called The Magnificent Cuckold.

The couple married in 1990 after Mr Berlusconi divorced his first wife, Carla Dall'Oglio, in 1985.

Over the years, the details of their love affair, seemingly idyllic marriage and painful public separation played out like a national soap opera.

The 76-year-old prime minister's penchant for consorting with young models and showgirls finally became too much for Miss Lario, who accused him of being a sex addict who "is sick and needs help".

In 2007, she wrote a letter that stated that her "dignity as a woman" had been hurt after Mr Berlusconi publicly joked to Mara Carfagna, a showgirl who later became a parliamentarian, that he would run off with her if he were not married.

Miss Lario received a public apology, but when re-elected Mr Berlusconi appointed Miss Carfagna the minister for equal opportunities.

The last straw, however, was the media mogul's decision to attend the 18th birthday party of Noemi Letizia, an aspiring lingerie model, at a disco near Naples. As photographs circulated, Miss Lario said she could no longer bear to be with a man who "mixes with under-age girls".

Disclosures of wild "bunga bunga" parties at another home, Villa Arcore, have since dogged the former leader. Mr Berlusconi has been accused by prosecutors of paying for sexual intercourse with an alleged under-age prostitute, a charge he denies, claiming he is being persecuted by politically motivated judges.

Cristina Morelli, Miss Lario's lawyer, did not return phone calls yesterday (Friday).

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