Italy's Berlusconi Ordered to Pay Nearly $50 Million a Year in Alimony

Silvio Berlusconi Veronica Lario 2007 - H 2012
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Silvio Berlusconi Veronica Lario 2007 - H 2012

The 76-year-old media mogul, who just got engaged to a 27-year-old dancer, is fighting multiple legal battles while running again for prime minister.

ROME -- Francesca Pasquale, take note: Apparently, it can pay to be the former Mrs. Silvio Berlusconi.

Just days after the 76-year-old Berlusconi, Italy’s billionaire media tycoon and three-time prime minister, announced he got engaged to Pasquale, 27, terms of divorce from Berlusconi’s second wife, Veronica Lario, were revealed.

He will pay her €36 million ($47.2 million) a year in alimony. That works out to be nearly $131,000 a day.

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The final figure is below the $56.3 million a year Lario asked for, but 10 times the $4.7 million a year Berlusconi had offered.

Berlusconi had been paying Lario €250,000 ($328,000) per month in support while the divorce was pending.

The judge’s decision announced Friday is the culmination of a three-year divorce ordeal started in 2009 after Lario announced she was leaving Berlusconi because of his taste for young women, following the widely reported 18th birthday party of would-be Neapolitan showgirl Noemi Letizia, which Berlusconi attended, paparazzi in tow.

Berlusconi’s taste for young women did not abate after Lario’s comments. Even before his engagement to Pasquale, a former dancer nearly 50 years his junior, Berlusconi was linked to scores of young women through his famous “bunga bunga” sex parties. Berlusconi is under investigation for allegations of paying an underage cabaret dancer named Karima el-Mahroug for sex.

But the case involving el-Mahroug -- who is best known by her stage name, Ruby the Heart Stealer -- is not the greatest of Berlusconi’s concerns at the moment. He also is under investigation for abuse of power, a more serious charge, and in October was sentenced to four years behind bars for tax fraud. Also, prosecutors this month asked a judge to sentence Berlusconi to at least a year in jail in connection to a wiretap case involving a political rival.

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All the while, Berlusconi had time to orchestrate a political maneuver that triggered the resignation of Mario Monti, his successor as prime minister, and to start laying the groundwork for another run at Italy's top post in 2013.

Berlusconi is one of the country's richest people -- notwithstanding his divorce settlement with Lario -- mostly on the strength of Mediaset, the television and cinema giant he founded in the 1970s. Mediaset includes three national television networks in Italy and one in Spain, plus Medusa, a film production and distribution house.