Marina Berlusconi: From boardroom to politics?

Rosie Scammell
Rosie Scammell - [email protected]
Marina Berlusconi: From boardroom to politics?
Marina Berlusconi is named by Forbes as one of the world's most powerful women. Photo: Paco Serinelli/AFP

Marina Berlusconi has carved out a career in the male-dominated Italian business world. But close family ties have seen her pitched as the next leader of one of the country's main political parties.


Who is Marina Berlusconi?
As you may have guessed from the name, Marina is the daughter of Silvio Berlusconi, the former prime minister of Italy who on Monday was convicted of having sex with an underage prostitute and abusing his public office to get her out of jail.
At 46, she is the oldest of Berlusconi's five children, yet her age did not stop her being described by Vogue in 2010 as having “a penchant for plastic surgery and a wild-sexy style, with rock star-excess nuances”.
Why is she making headlines?
Marina has supported her father throughout his many court cases, this week being no exception. She slammed the seven-year sentence and life ban from public office as “written from the start, in a script staged by the prosecutor of Milan”.
Silvio’s political demise has led many to ponder who will take over the leadership of the People of Freedom Party (PdL), with Marina seen as a natural successor by many.
Daniela Santanchè, a PdL politician, is keen to see the businesswoman leading the party. “Marina Berlusconi is excellent. She hasn’t been involved in politics? All the better. She has done many things in her life and can therefore be excellent at doing this; better than many others,” Santanchè said in an interview with Radio IES.
Others have been less keen, with Renato Brunetta, the PdL’s leader of the lower house of parliament, telling Radio 24: “I don’t like dynasties, monarchist or democratic”.
Marina herself has dismissed the claims of her eyeing the PdL leadership as being without foundation, but this has done little to stem the speculation.
Away from politics, how does Marina pass her time?
She basks in the glory of being named one of Forbes’ most powerful women in the world.
As a businesswoman, Marina serves as chair of Fininvest, the Italian communications group owned by the Berlusconi family. Mediaset comes under the Fininvest umbrella; the media company for which Marina’s father was recently found guilty of tax fraud. He is currently appealing the five-year ban from public office and one-year prison sentence.
Marina is also chair of Mondadori, Italy’s largest book and magazine publisher. The titles sold by the publisher include the Italian magazine 'Chi', which gained notoriety in 2012 for printing topless photographs of British Royal Kate Middleton.
Is it all work, work, work?
Not at all. In between defending her father and making millions, Marina married a ballet dancer. She met Maurizio Vanadia in Milan, where he worked for the famous La Scala opera house.
"I was leaning forward so far to see him with the binoculars my mother kept on elbowing me and saying 'watch out or you will fall into the stalls,'" the Guardian newspaper reported her as saying of her trip to the ballet. The pair married in 2008 and have two children.
What next for Marina?
The heiress apparently likes to keep a low profile, so while PdL politicians continue to whisper her name, she will likely say little. That is, until her father’s next legal case comes to court.


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