Berlusconi had contested the terms of their divorce settlement in Milan’s court of appeal, which on Thursday found in his favour. The court found that the €1.4 million a month that billionaire Berlusconi had been paying Lario was excessive.
She will have to repay alimony dating back to March 2014, after the court judged that she was able to support herself without it.
Berlusconi benefitted from a recent change in the way that Italy calculates divorce settlements, which in the past were designed to allow the claimant spouse to maintain the same standard of living they enjoyed during the marriage.
Yet Italy’s highest court ruled in May, as part of the divorce between a former government minister and his wife, that alimony had to provide only economic independence.
The ruling, known as the Grilli-Lowenstein judgement, defined economic independence as not requiring state benefits: i.e., making at least €1,000 a month.
Berlusconi’s lawyers successfully argued that Lario, with liquid assets worth €16 million along with jewellery and real estate companies, was in no danger of falling below that threshold.
The couple separated in 2009, when it emerged that Berlusconi had gone to an 18-year-old woman’s birthday party.
Lario formally divorced him in 2014, after 24 years of marriage. She and Berlusconi have been embroiled in court disputes over their settlement ever since.
The couple in 2014, when Berlusconi was prime minister and Lario was Italy's first lady. Photo: Vincenzo Pinto/AFP