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Berlusconi close to divorce settlement: Reports

The Italian PM`s wife filed for divorce after revelations that Berlusconi had attended 18th birthday party of a model.

Rome: Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is close to reaching an agreement on the terms of his eventual divorce from his wife Veronica Lario after a weekend court hearing, Italian media reported on Sunday.

Berlusconi, Lario and their lawyers held a five-hour hearing on Saturday with Milan judge Gloria Servetti, primarily on the financial aspects of ending their 19-year marriage.

"They are on their way to an agreement," Italian media quoted one of the meeting`s participants as saying.

Lario, 53, filed for divorce a year ago after revelations that the media tycoon -- noted for his dalliances with other women -- had attended the 18th birthday party of an aspiring model who called him "Daddy".

Berlusconi, 73, was also forced to deny paying for sex after a call-girl disclosed publicly she had spent the night with him, recorded conversations with him and filmed his bedroom with her mobile phone.

After a first hearing in January, it appeared the two sides would find it difficult to reach an agreement. In addition to the villa near Milan where she resides, Lario also reportedly wanted monthly alimony of EUR 3.5 million, a figure Berlusconi`s lawyers rejected as "exorbitant", and who offered less than a tenth of that amount.

According to Italian media, Lario will indeed get the villa in the divorce settlement, but a considerably smaller alimony payment than she had sought.

Lario also wanted their three children to receive the same inheritance as the two children from Berlusconi`s first marriage, something Berlusconi reportedly pledged to the five children in February.

Once the terms of the divorce are agreed it is likely to take three or four years for the courts to confirm the settlement and finalise the divorce.

With a fortune estimated at USD 6.5 billion, Berlusconi is Italy`s second richest person and ranks 70th in the world, according to a 2009 list by Forbes magazine.


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