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Model who gave evidence in Berlusconi ‘bunga bunga’ trial dies of suspected poisoning

Police launch murder probe after death of key witness in former Italian prime minister’s upcoming bribery trial

Chris Baynes
Saturday 16 March 2019 14:12 GMT
Imane Fadil, pictured outside a Milan court in 2012, gave evidence at Silvio Berlusconi’s prostitution trial
Imane Fadil, pictured outside a Milan court in 2012, gave evidence at Silvio Berlusconi’s prostitution trial (AFP/Getty)

Italian prosecutors have launched a murder investigation after a key witness in former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi’s upcoming bribery trial died of suspected poisoning.

Imane Fadil, 34, a Moroccan model who attended the media magnate’s notorious “bunga bunga” sex parties, was admitted to a Milan hospital last month with severe stomach pains.

She told friends and her lawyer she believed she had been poisoned.

Fadil died on 1 March, but her death was not announced until Friday.

“The doctors have not identified with any certainty any pathology which can explain the death,” said Milan’s chief prosecutor, Francesco Greco. He said there were “several anomalies” in Fadil’s medical records.

According to Italian news agency Ansa, toxicology tests found the model had been killed by a “mix of radioactive substances”.

Fadil gave evidence in the 2012 trial of Mr Berlusconi, who was accused of paying for sex with an underage prostitute.

The model had been a regular guest at the former prime minister’s parties, where she said young women stripped off while performing provocative pole dances.

Mr Berlusconi was initially convicted of paying for sex with a 17-year-old girl and faced seven years in prison, but he was acquitted in 2015 after a judge ruled he could not have known the prostitute was underage.

Magistrates have subsequently laid new charges against Mr Berlusconi and other defendants, accusing them of bribing women who attended the parties to prevent them telling the truth at the initial trial.

Fadil was never accused of taking bribes and was expected to give evidence in the new case.

In 2012, she said she feared for her safety after telling prosecutors she was offered money in exchange for her silence about what went on at the parties, which Mr Berlusconi claimed were elegant dinner parties.

According to Italian media, Fadil had been writing a book about her experiences at the time of her death.

Magistrates have reportedly obtained a copy of the manuscript to investigate whether it contains clues about her possible murder.

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