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Model at Berlusconi’s ‘bunga bunga’ trial had ‘metal cadmium in body’

Moroccan model, 34, who was witness at Silvio Berlusconi’s ‘bunga bunga’ trial ‘had high levels of deadly heavy metal cadmium in her body when she died’, Italian prosecutors say

  • Imane Fadil, 34, died this month in Milan exhibiting ‘symptoms of poisoning’
  • In 2012 she told the press she feared for her safety ahead of speaking out
  • Tests showed Ms Fadil had high levels of toxic heavy metal cadmium in her body 
  • She testified she had seen women dressed as nuns stripping for Berlusconi
  • Berlusconi was acquitted in 2015 of paying for sex with an underage woman 
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A Moroccan model who was a witness at the ‘bunga bunga’ trial of ex-Premier Silvio Berlusconi had high levels of heavy metals in her body when she died earlier this month, Italian prosecutors have said.

Imane Fadil had levels of cadmium – a heavy metal used in batteries and nuclear reactors – seven times higher than normal, according to Italian prosecutor Francesco Greco.

The 34-year-old also had levels of antimony – another heavy metal, found in paint and plastic – three times higher than normal, as reported by The Telegraph.

Ms Fadil was a central witness to the prosecution in 2012 against Berlusconi who was alleged to have paid for an underage prostitute.


The Moroccan model Imane Fadil leaving a court in Milan in 2011 – Berlusconi was cleared of a charge he paid for sex with an underage woman


Ms Fadil smiles as she leaves the court in Milan, Italy in 2011, she was a central witness to the prosecution against Silvio Berlusconi


Italian former Premier Silvio Berlusconi attends a TV show in Rome last month, he told the BBC: ‘I never met this person, never talked to her’

Exposure to cadmium can lead to severe health problems such as kidney failure. 

Officials also fear the model may have been exposed to radioactive substances, but are not ruling out that she died from a rare disease.

Ms Fadil, 34, died March 1 at a Milan hospital after exhibiting ‘symptoms of poisoning,’ Milan prosecutor Francesco Greco said, according to Italian news agency ANSA.

The former model had been brought to the hospital on January 29 with unexplained stomach pains.

Berlusconi told the BBC: ‘It’s always a pity when a young person dies. I never met this person, never talked to her.’

He added: ‘What I read of her statements made me think that everything was invented, absurd.’ 

According to Italy’s Corriere della Sera daily, the hospital had run a battery of tests to determine the cause of her failing health, but finding nothing, had sent off samples to a specialised laboratory in the northern town of Pavia.

The results came back 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.

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Fadil’s lawyer, Paolo Sevesi, said she had spoken to him about ‘her fear of having been poisoned,’ the AGI news agency reported.

The former model first hit the headlines in 2012 when she gave detailed testimony about the goings on at Berlusconi’s orgiastic parties at his villa in Arcore near Milan.

She testified that the first time she went to a party, she saw two young women in nun costumes stripping in front of the then prime minister.

Later, she said he himself handed her 2,000 euros (£1,700) in cash, telling her: ‘Don’t be offended.’ 


Ms Fadil (left) arrives at the Milan court, to be heard as witness, in Milan in 2012


Ms Fadil arrives at court for the Berlusconi ‘bunga bunga’ trial in 2012, she was a central witness to the prosecution

Berlusconi has faced a string of charges over the so-called Rubygate scandal linked to his parties and the underaged prostitute Karima El-Mahroug, also known as ‘Ruby the heart-stealer’.

Now 82, the billionaire businessman is currently on trial for paying a witness to give false testimony about his parties.

Berlusconi is already being investigated or prosecuted for witness tampering in Milan, Sienna, Rome and Turin, each time for allegedly paying people to keep quiet about his bunga-bunga parties.

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