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) per year in alimony payments. That works out to be nearly €100,000 ($131,000) per month.
The final figure is below the €43 million ($56.3 million) per year Lario asked for, but ten times the €3.6 million ($4.7 million) per year Berlusconi offered.
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 woman, 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 woman did not abate after Lario’s comments. Even before his engagement to Pasquale, the former dancer nearly 50 years her fiancé’s 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 under-age 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 is also under investigation for abuse of power, a more serious charge, and in October was sentenced to four years behind bars for tax fraud. Earlier this month, prosecutors asked a judge to sentence Berlusconi to at least a year in jail in connection to a wiretap case involving a political rival.
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 for prime minister in 2013.
Berlusconi is one of the richest people in Italy -- notwithstanding his divorce settlement with Lario -- mostly on the strength of the Mediaset television and cinema giant he founded. Mediaset includes three national television networks in Italy and one in Spain, plus Medusa, the film production and distribution house.