Europe

Italy Berlusconi: Ex-wife to pay back €60m in alimony

Italy's Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and his wife Veronica Lario are seen in Rome on 4 June, 2004 Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Ms Lario and Mr Berlusconi, seen here in 2004, broke up in 2009

An ex-wife of former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has been ordered to pay him back €60m ($70m; £53m) in alimony after a court ruled that she did not need the money.

He will also no longer need to pay €1.4m a month to Veronica Lario, mother of three of his children.

His lawyers said Ms Lario was wealthy enough to support herself with her €16m fortune. She has not commented.

They split in 2009 after he was seen at the 18th birthday of an aspiring model.

A court in 2012 initially awarded Ms Lario, 61, alimony of €3m a month. That was cut to €1.4m in 2013, but Berlusconi, 81, complained it was still too high.

An appeals court in Milan voted in his favour, saying she did not need additional income. Her wealth includes cash deposits, jewels and a real estate business.

The decision followed a ruling by Italy's supreme court this year that divorce settlements should no longer guarantee spouses the standard of living they had during the marriage but rather ensure their financial sufficiency.

Berlusconi is Italy's fifth richest man, with a fortune estimated at $7bn by US magazine Forbes.

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

They wed in 1990 and were married for 22 years. In 2007, Ms Lario demanded an apology for one of his flirtations in a letter carried on the front page of national newspaper La Repubblica.

She began divorce proceedings in 2009, accusing him of consorting with minors. Before Ms Lario, he was married to Carla Dall'Oglio for 20 years.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Berlusconi is the leader of the centre-right Forza Italia (Go Italy!) party

The four-time prime minister, who remains the leader of the centre-right Forza Italia (Go Italy!) party, has been embroiled in financial and sex scandals.

In 2013, he was convicted of tax fraud and ejected from the Italian Senate. He was also banned from holding public office ever again.

In 2015, he was acquitted of paying for sex with an underage prostitute after initially being convicted in what became known as the "bunga bunga" case.

He has two other children from his first marriage and is currently engaged to 32-year-old Francesca Pascale.

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