Former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi has been hospitalised, his lawyer said Wednesday, during the latest court hearing over the media mogul’s “bunga-bunga” parties.
“Due to health problems, Berlusconi has been hospitalised since Monday morning,” said his attorney, Federico Cecconi, at the hearing in Milan.
The flamboyant 84-year-old billionaire and media tycoon, who has dominated public life in Italy since the 1980s as a businessman and three-time prime minister, has had a string of health problems in recent years.
In January, Berlusconi — who had open-heart surgery in 2016 — was admitted to a hospital in Monaco for heart problems. Last September, he was hospitalised for 11 days with Covid-19.
On Wednesday, a source within Berlusconi’s Forza Italia party said doctors had carried out previously scheduled tests at the hospital, adding that Berlusconi’s condition was not worrying.
Cecconi did not ask for a postponement because of the hospitalisation.
The hearing regards the latest prong of the long-running investigation involving Berlusconi’s infamous “bunga-bunga” parties and the participation of alleged underage prostitute Karima El-Mahroug, dubbed “Ruby the heart-stealer”.
The probe involves alleged payments to witnesses by Berlusconi to buy their silence over the parties.
Prosecutors say that Berlusconi paid 10 million euros (some $12 million) between 2011 and 2015 to various people. Seven million euros allegedly went to Ruby, who was a minor when she participated in the parties.
Berlusconi has always maintained that investigations against him have been politically motivated.