Officials probing death of model who testified in 'bunga-bunga' trial

Sergio Conner
March 17, 2019

A model who was to testify in former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's upcoming bribery trial has died of suspected poisoning, authorities said.

Imane Fadil, 34, died March 1 at a Milan-area hospital, where she had been treated since January 29 for exhibiting "symptoms of poisoning", Milan prosecutor Francesco Greco said, according to the Italian news agency ANSA.

Fadil testified at the 2012 trial of Berlusconi, who was accused of paying for sex with a Moroccan-born night-club dancer, Karima El Mahroug, nicknamed Ruby, when she was under the age of 18 and thus too young under Italian law to be paid as a prostitute.

Imane Fadil, 34, a native of Morocco, had attended Berlusconi's "bunga bunga" sex parties. "It's always very sad when someone as young as this dies", he said. "I never knew this person and I never spoke to them".

"What I read of her statements made me think that everything was invented, absurd", he said.

Fadil died in a Milan hospital on March 1 after suffering stomach pains
Fadil died in a Milan hospital on March 1 after suffering stomach pains Credit

However, magistrates subsequently laid new charges against Berlusconi and other defendants, accusing them of bribing some of the women who attended the parties to keep them from telling the truth at the initial trial.

Fadil, who had reportedly wanted to be a television sportscaster, argued that she had suffered from lost opportunities because of her involvement in the cases.

Milan chief prosecutor Francesco Greco told Reuters news agency there were "several anomalies" in Ms Fadil's medical records.

Late previous year, lawyers for one of Berlusconi's co-defendants in the witness tampering trial began negotiations to settle the women's claims, ANSA reported at the time. He said prosecutors were only informed of the death when Fadil's lawyer reported it.

The results came back on March 6, five days after her death, suggesting the presence of "a mixture of radioactive substances which are not normally available for purchase", the paper said, citing unnamed sources.

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