Italy opens probe into death of 'bunga bunga' witness

Imane Fadil.—AFP

A Moroccan model who regularly attended former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's raunchy "bunga-bunga" sex parties died this month - and investigators are now probing the case as a possible murder.

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

Model Imane Fadil arrives at Milan's court during the trial of the ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi for allegedly having sex with an underage prostitute on April 16, 2012. At another party, a woman in her underwear stripped for Berlusconi wearing a mask with the face of footballer Ronaldinho, she said.

Mr Berlusconi has always maintained he is "no saint" but firmly rejects claims he has ever paid for sex with a woman, saying: "I never understood where the satisfaction is when you're missing the pleasure of conquest".

Imane Fadil said Berlusconi paid her 2,000 euros - almost $2,300 - that night.

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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. That trial is ongoing.

Late a year ago, 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. Two weeks later, Fadil was hospitalized.

Ms Fadil was writing a book about her experiences and magistrates investigating her death have obtained a copy of the manuscript, Italian newspapers report. He said prosecutors were only informed of the death when Fadil's lawyer reported it. "She died after a month of agony".

In a statement reported by ANSA, Humanitas said it provided the results of toxicological exams to prosecutors when they were completed March 6.

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