Page last updated at 12:36 GMT, Thursday, 26 November 2009

Silvio Berlusconi's wife makes 43m euros divorce claim

File image of Veronica Lario and Silvio Berlusconi
Mr Berlusconi met Veronica in 1980

The estranged wife of Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi is seeking 43m euros (£39m) a year in her divorce case, according to a media report.

Veronica Lario filed for divorce in May, angered by a reported liaison with an 18-year-old aspiring model.

Her lawyer has not confirmed the report but the Corriere della Sera has said money has already changed hands.

According to the paper, Mr Berlusconi has offered Ms Lario, with whom he has three children, 200,000 euros a month.

It said Mr Berlusconi's counteroffer of a monthly payment of between 200,000 and 300,000 euros was negotiable. Ms Lario has also reportedly been offered a villa where she lives with her children, all in their twenties.

"Sources close to the head of government are also saying that 60[m] to 70m euros have already been paid out to Veronica," the newspaper said.

Vast fortune

Mr Berlusconi's divorce lawyer, Ippolita Ghedini, has neither confirmed nor denied the report, saying it was unfortunate that a consensual separation was not being treated with the "reserve required".

Ms Lario, a 52-year-old former actress, married Mr Berlusconi in 1990, 10 years after meeting him.

Their relationship breakdown has become increasingly public, with Mr Berlusconi plagued by sex scandals and Ms Lario re-issuing her autobiography and demanding a front-page apology for her husband's disparaging comments about women.

She also clashed with him about his proposals to nominate women with little political expertise for European candidate seats.

The BBC's David Willey in Rome says the case is shaping up to be one of the most costly divorces in Italian history.

Mr Berlusconi's vast fortune - which spans interest in media, publishing, real estate and investment sectors - is estimated by Italian financial journals to be some 9bn euros.

The leaks about the divorce figure comes as an escort who said she was one of several women paid to attend parties hosted by Mr Berlusconi publishes a book.

In the memoir, entitled Enjoy, Prime Minister, Patrizia D'Addario, gives intimate details of her experiences with the 73-year-old at his official government residence in Rome.

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