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, where she lives with their three children.
In return for the property, valued at around €78m, Ms Lario is prepared to accept a greatly reduced monthly payment, according to Italian newspapers. She had asked for €3.5m a month when the two sides met in January. But Mr Berlusconi, whose fortune has been estimated at £7bn, refused, saying he was prepared to pay at most €300,000 a month. That meeting lasted only 20 minutes.