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Berlusconi fiancée to file lawsuit after lesbian claim on TV

Francesca Pascale to demand 10 million euros in damages

24 October, 20:14
Berlusconi fiancée to file lawsuit after lesbian claim on TV (ANSA) - Rome, October 24 - Ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi's fiancée Francesca Pascale on Thursday said she is filing a lawsuit against a Bulgarian actress who claimed she is a lesbian on television and the host and a journalist of the talk show on which the claims were made. Pascale, 28, will not demand less than 10 million euros in damages for being ''gravely defamed'' by the allegations, her attorney Licia Polizio said.

Dragomira Boneva, known as Michelle Bonev, claimed in an interview aired last week by political talk show Servizio Pubblico of private network La7 that Pascale's engagement to the 77-year-old Berlusconi, who is one of Italy's richest men and a former three-time premier, is ''just a facade'' and that she and Pascale were ''much more'' than just friends.

Bonev also claimed that Berlusconi knew that Pascale was a lesbian.

''Silvio decided to announce the engagement with Francesca only to continue to have fun with her and her 'friends', and not be misjudged by the company,'' said Bonev. Berlusconi is appealing after being sentenced to seven years in prison for paying for sex with an underage prostitute at sex parties at his home and abusing his power to cover up the affair.

Pascale's lawyer on Thursday said her client was the ''victim of a painful and preordained exploitation'' by controversial TV host Michele Santoro, who ''did not hesitate to use clearly false information, 'non-news' only to attract audience, and of Dragomira Boneva who invented a squalid story to attract an otherwise unattainable notoriety''.

Berlusconi's criticism of Santoro in 2002 led to a five-year absence of the journalist from state broadcaster RAI, where he used to work.

The attorney said her client would donate proceeds from the lawsuit to rescue centres for women and children.

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