Milan court officials have defended the impartiality of their judges after ex-Premier Silvio Berlusconi blamed “feminist, communist” magistrates for a €200,000-a-day divorce settlement.
Berlusconi, who has a net worth of €4.5 billion, made the accusation in an interview with the La7 television network and said he was appealing the settlement with his second ex-wife, Veronica Lario.
But in a joint statement yesterday carried by the ANSA news agency, the president of the Milan tribunal and the head of the appeals court “strongly rejected any insinuation of impartiality” of the tribunal’s judges, whom they described as “diligent professionals”.
The statement noted both sides in the divorce have the right to appeal the decision. Italian media initially reported the settlement amounted to €100,000 a day.
But Berlusconi said the figure, with arrears, was double that and only a tenth of what she had initially sought.
“They ordered me to pay €200,000 a day, and this says a lot about who the Milan judges are.
“These are three women judges, feminists and communists, OK?” he said. “These are the Milan judges who have persecuted me since 1994.”
It was the first time Berlusconi had commented publicly on the settlement. He did not elaborate on the figure and it was not clear whether he might be including back payments that have fallen due since the separation in quoting a higher daily payment than Corriere.
Lario filed for divorce in 2009, citing Berlusconi’s fondness for younger women. The 76-year-old billionaire media mogul, who is currently engaged to someone nearly 50 years his junior, is on trial in Milan accused of paying for sex with an underage Moroccan teen and using his office to cover it up. He and the girl deny the charges.
Berlusconi also was convicted by a Milan judge of tax fraud last year and is appealing that decision.
The decision in the pay-for-sex case could come before elections next month. Berlusconi has been on a media blitz in recent weeks, seeking to boost his party’s chances.
Polls currently give the lead to the centre-left Democratic Party, with Berlusconi’s People of Freedom party and the civic movement of Premier Mario Monti vying for second and third place.
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