Italy probes mystery death of Berlusconi sex trial witness

Imane Fadil smiles as she leaves the court in Milan Italy. Luca Bruno  AP

Imane Fadil smiles as she leaves the court in Milan Italy. Luca Bruno AP

Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has expressed his condolences for Fadil, who died on March 1 after a month-long illness, but insisted that he never met or spoke to the former showgirl.

Imane Fadil, 34, died March 1 at a Milan-area hospital, where she had been treated since January 29 for exhibiting "symptoms of poisoning", Milan prosecutor Francesco Greco said, according to the Italian news agency ANSA.

Italian magistrates have launched an investigation into the possible murder of Imane Fadil, a 34-year-old Moroccan-born showgirl who served as a key witness in a prostitution trial against Berlusconi in 2012.

In 2012, Fadil described the parties during the trial of Berlusconi, who was accused of paying for sex with an underage prostitute. At another party, a woman in her underwear stripped for Berlusconi wearing a mask with the face of footballer Ronaldinho, she said.

Asked Saturday to comment, Berlusconi said he was always sorry when a young person dies.

FILE - In this Monday, Oct. 3, 2011 file photo, Imane Fadil smiles as she leaves the court in Milan, Italy.

"What I read of her statements made me think that everything was invented, absurd", he said.

Ms Fadil was scheduled to give evidence about claims that Mr Berlusconi offered to buy silence from women who attended parties at his villa near Milan and paid other guests to... That trial is ongoing. Two weeks later, Fadil was hospitalized. "She died after a month of agony".

Ms Fadil was writing a book about her experiences at the sex parties and the manuscript was picked up by Italian authorities after her death, local media reports.

The results came back on March 6, five days after her death, suggesting the presence of "a mixture of radioactive substances which are not normally available for purchase", the paper said, citing unnamed sources.