Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi, who was accused by his estranged wife Veronica Lario of “consorting with minors”, has agreed to hand over the keys to a £70m villa in order to avoid a messy divorce battle, it has emerged.
News of the deal came after a five-hour face-to-face meeting between the couple in Milan at the weekend, after which the lawyers of both sides said they were “satisfied”. Ms Lario (53), a former actress, is said to be extremely attached to Villa Belvedere in Macherio near Milan.
In return for the property, Ms Lario is prepared to accept a greatly reduced monthly payment, according to Italian newspapers. She had asked for €3.5m (£3m) a month when the two sides met in January. But Mr Berlusconi, whose fortune has been estimated at £7bn (£6bn), refused, saying he was prepared to pay at most €300,000 (£261,000) a month.
It now appears the financial agreement is much nearer the original offer made by the Prime Minister.