Thursday, November 26, 2009

Berlusconi estranged wife eyes $65 mln a year

ROME — Veronica Lario, the wife of Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, is seeking 43 million euros (65 million dollars) a year in a divorce settlement, the Corriere della Sera newspaper said Thursday.

Berlusconi had rebuffed her demand, amounting to 3.5 millions euro per month, and countered with an offer of 200,000 euros a month, although he is ready to go as high as 300,000, the newspaper said.

Maria Cristina Morelli, lawyer for Lario, declined to confirm the report but the newspaper insisted that money had already changed hands between the estranged pair.

"Sources close to the head of government (Berlusconi) are also saying that 60 to 70 million euros have already been paid out to Veronica", it said.

Lario, 52, filed for divorce in May, upset over her notorious womaniser husband's reported dalliances with younger women.

The last straw came in April when 72-year-old Berlusconi attended the 18th birthday party of aspiring model Noemi Letizia, whose relationship with the prime minister has been the subject of months of intrigue.

Berlusconi met Veronica Lario in 1980 and the couple were married 10 years later. They have three children, Barbara, 24, Eleonora, 22, and Luigi 20.

With a fortune of around 6.5 billion dollars, media magnate Berlusconi is Italy's second-richest man and 70th in the world, according to this year's Forbes magazine.

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