Milan

Berlusconi fights to get estranged wife's alimony cut

Judges who awarded 36 mn euros a year 'feminists, Communists'

Berlusconi fights to get estranged wife's alimony cut

Milan, March 19 - Former Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi has appealed against a sentence that forces him to pay his estranged wife Veronica Lario 36 million euros a year in alimony, Italian media said Tuesday. Lario left Berlusconi after he attended the 18th birthday party of an aspiring starlet and friend in Naples in 2009, accusing him of consorting with minors. Last Christmas a Milan court ended a three-year legal tussle between the separated couple, who had been together for 30 years and have three children together. According to the sentence, the media magnate and centre-right politician, 76, will give 56-year-old Lario three million euros a month or 36 million a year but will keep sole possession of his luxury villa outside Milan and his vast business empire will be unaffected. Berlusconi slammed the "non-consensual" sentence on January 24, saying it was "unexpected" and "detached from reality". He said he would dispense with his lawyers and talk to Lario about it. On January 9 a Milan court rejected Berlusconi's claim of bias on the part of the three-woman panel that decided on the figure. The ex-premier, who is currently on trial for paying for sex with an underage prostitute and has had a string of scandals involving escorts and a stable of aspiring starlets, called the judges "feminists and Communist". The couple's marital ups and downs have been well publicized over the years. A media firestorm lit up in 2007 when Lario demanded a public apology from her "flirtatious" husband in a public letter to the editor of the La Repubblica daily, which published the contents on the front page. "I am asking for a public apology, given that I haven't received a private one," she wrote in the letter. The pair made up after Berlusconi said sorry and presented her with an expensive birthday present, disguised as a dancing sheikh. When Lario filed for divorce after Berlusconi's appearance at Neapolitan teen Noemi Letizia's birthday party, the ex-premier told the gossip magazine Chi that he regretted the end of his "love story". Born Miriam Raffaela Bartolini, former actress Lario was Berlusconi's second wife. Berlusconi was smitten after seeing her perform topless in a Milan play about a philandering husband called The Magnificent Cuckold in 1980. Lario's had a bloody cameo in Italian horror master Dario Argento's 1982 film 'Tenebre' (Shadows). She played a woman who had her hand chopped off and yelled for a few seconds as her wound bled. The snippet was cut when the film aired on a Berlusconi-owned TV channel in 2004. Lario and Berlusconi married in 1990 after the media tycoon left his first wife, with whom he has two children, both executives in his media empire. Berlusconi announced in mid-December that he intends to wed for the third time. He is engaged to Naples-born Francesca Pascale, almost 50 years his junior, who accompanied him on the first stages of a barnstorming election campaign that lifted him from the political wilderness to a second-place result. The first hearing in the alimony appeal will be in mid-April, judicial sources said Monday.

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