Europe

Silvio Berlusconi's divorce payments to ex-wife halved

Silvio Berlusconi and Veronica Lario pictured in 2004
Image caption Mr Berlusconi and Ms Lario were married for more than 20 years

An Italian court has halved the amount of alimony payments that former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi must pay to his ex-wife, Italian media report.

Berlusconi - one of Italy's richest men - will now give the equivalent of $1.9m (£1.17m) a month to Veronica Lario and their three children.

Ms Lario, a former actress, filed for divorce in 2009.

Berlusconi said the three judges who had issued the earlier "unreal" verdict were "feminists and communists".

The couple met in a dressing room in 1980 after Berlusconi saw Ms Lario strip during a performance in a theatre in Milan.

They wed in 1990 and were married for 22 years.

'Love story'

The former prime minister has been embroiled in a series of financial and sex scandals.

Ms Lario demanded an apology for one of his flirtations in a letter carried on the front page of national newspaper La Repubblica in 2007.

She began divorce proceedings in 2009 after her husband attended the birthday party of an 18-year-old aspiring model. She accused him of consorting with minors.

Berlusconi lamented the end of the marriage, which he called his "love story".

In December 2012, a court ordered the billionaire media tycoon to pay Ms Lario more than $4m a month.

But Italian media are reporting that a review has now led to the alimony payments being cut in half.

Economic conditions were cited as a reason for the reduction to the alimony payments initially established by a Milan court, according to the Corriere della Sera.

Berlusconi, 77, has two other children from his first marriage. He is engaged to Francesca Pascale, who is in her 20s.