Italy opens probe into death of 'bunga bunga' witness

Moroccan model Imane Fadil testified at a Milan court in 2012 about her experiences at Silvio Berlusconi's hedonistic bunga-bunga partiesMore

The death in Italy of a Moroccan model who was a regular guest at former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's sex parties is being treated as a possible murder, magistrates say.

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.

Berlusconi is already being investigated or prosecuted for witness tampering in Milan, Sienna, Rome and Turin, each time for allegedly paying people to keep quiet about his bunga-bunga parties.

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.

Ms Fadil is understood to have told her brother and her lawyer that she had been poisoned. Later, she said he himself handed her €2,000 ($2,300 at current rates) in cash, telling her: "Don't be offended". "But I never met this young woman and never spoke to her", he added. At another party, a woman in her underwear stripped for Berlusconi wearing a mask with the face of footballer Ronaldinho, she said.

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"What I read about her declarations always made me think that they were contrived and absurd", he said.

Mr Berlusconi, 82, was initially convicted but then acquitted on appeal. News agency ANSA reported that a toxicology test had found that she had been killed by a "mix of radioactive substances".

Francesco Greco, Milan's chief prosecutor, told Reuters: "Initial medical record checks suggest some form of poisoning so we are having a full autopsy performed. She died after a month of agony".

Emails and calls to Humanitas and Greco weren't immediately returned Saturday.

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