AN Italian man is suing his wife's lover for €600,000 in Italy's first case of a cuckold seeking monetary compensation for "moral damages" caused by an extramarital affair.
The 45-year-old estate agent has demanded €200,000 or himself and €400,000 for his two children in the precedent-setting case, which began this week in the town of Spoleto, in Umbria.
The plaintiff, whose name has not been released, claims that his 39-year-old wife's affair caused her to develop "obsessive behaviour that led her to ruin the life of the family and to avoid her conjugal obligations".
The husband also said her affair had sent him into a spiral of depression. He presented a medical certificate to the civil tribunal where the case is being heard.
The 39-year-old alleged lover, who is from Perugia, insists that he is just good friends with the woman, who lives with her husband in nearby Spoleto.
Marco Brusco, his lawyer, said: "He denies being her lover. But even if it was true, we argue that he is free to have sex with who he likes -- whether they are married, single or separated.
"Adultery may once have been a crime in this country, but that is no longer the case. There is no law that says a man cannot go to bed with the wife of another man."
He said the case, which is expected to take at least a year, was without precedent. "This is the first time something like this has been tried in Italy."
The husband is suing under a section of the Italian penal code which allows for legal action to be taken where no contract exists between two parties.
"While the wife is bound to her husband by her vows of fidelity, no contract links the two men," said Mr Brusco.
The names of the protagonists have not been made public because children are involved in the case.
The case began earlier this week before a civil tribunal in Spoleto, with the next hearing fixed for the end of May. (©Daily Telegraph, London)