Veronica Lario, Berlusconi's Wife, Seeks $65 Million A Year In Alimony

ROME (AP) -- Premier Silvio Berlusconi's estranged wife is seeking euro43 million ($65 million) a year in alimony in a divorce case she launched after her husband was embroiled in a sex scandal, a bid that was immediately rejected by the billionaire media mogul, an Italian newspaper reported Thursday.

Veronica Lario's lawyer was not immediately available to comment on the report in Corriere della Sera.

The alimony request, part of separation procedures, would work out to more than euro3.5 million ($5.3 million) a month.

Couples in Italy must be legally separated before divorce can be granted.

Corriere della Sera, citing what it said were "informed sources," said Berlusconi, Italy's second-richest man, made a counteroffer of euro200,000 monthly, and indicated willingness to go up to euro300,000 monthly.

Berlusconi, 73, is listed by Forbes magazine as the 70th richest person in the world, worth $6.5 billion.

Lario, a 52-year-old former actress, said earlier this year she was fed up with Berlusconi's infatuation with young women and was seeking divorce.

The scandal swirls around several parties and dinners at Berlusconi's Sardinia estate and Rome residence.

A southern Italian businessman, who has been arrested in a cocaine probe, has told investigators he procured some 30 young women to attend the parties in hope of currying favor with the premier. Among the guests was a prostitute who has said she spent the night with Berlusconi in the bedroom of the Rome residence.

Berlusconi, who says he is "no saint," has denied ever paying for sex. He isn't under investigation in the scandal.

Lario, Berlusconi's second wife, wed him in 1990 after several years together. She bore him three children, now in their 20s.

Corriere della Sera said Lario was seeking alimony that would allow her to maintain the style of life she now enjoys. The couple's children each hold a sizable stake in Fininvest, which groups Berlusconi's business interests in media and other companies.

According to the newspaper, Berlusconi already has given Lario some euro60 million ($90 million) to euro70 million ($105 million), apparently in the interests of the children.

Berlusconi also has two children from his first marriage.