A key witness in the trial of former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, who was charged with having sex with an underage prostitute, died earlier this month, and authorities now say she might have been poisoned.
The 33-year-old former model Imane Fadil was hospitalized in February for unexplained stomach pains, claiming she thought she had been poisoned. After a month-long stay, Fadil died on March 1, according to The Telegraph.
The Humanitas hospital in Rozzano, Milan, ran numerous tests in an effort to determine the cause of Fadil’s illness, but to no avail. Blood samples sent to a specialized laboratory returned results on March 6, noting "a mixture of radioactive substances which are not normally available for purchase", according to Italy's Corriere della Sera daily.
The Telegraph said a post mortem will take place this week, with results likely on Wednesday or Thursday.
Fadil testified against Berlusconi several times, and on one of the last occasions, she said she had suffered greatly after coming forward and “the truth would come out” in a book she was writing.
“I have always told the truth and I’ve rejected many attempts to corrupt me by Berlusconi and his entourage,” Fadil said. “This whole saga started when I was 25 and now I’m 34. I have suffered a great deal compared to those who let themselves be paid off.”
The Telegraph said the Moroccan-born former model “first hit the headlines in 2012 when she gave detailed testimony about the goings on at Mr Berlusconi's orgiastic parties at his villa in Arcore near Milan.”
Fadil claimed the first time she went to one of Berlusconi’s parties, she saw two young women dressed as nuns stripping for the then-prime minister and said Berlusconi himself handed her 2,000 euros.
Berlusconi has denied that his parties were orgies and said Fadil’s claims of orgies were “invented and absurd,” according to The Telegraph.
Of her passing, the 82-year-old billionaire reportedly said, “It’s always very sad when someone as young as this dies. I never met this person and never spoke to her.”
The Telegraph noted that Berlusconi “is already being investigated or prosecuted for witness tampering in Milan, Siena, Rome and Turin, each time for allegedly paying people to keep quiet about his bunga bunga parties.”