Jowell's husband faces trial in Italy

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The Independent Online

The husband of the Culture Secretary, Tessa Jowell, faces the prospect of being tried alongside the Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, on tax evasion and money-laundering charges.

David Mills, an international corporate lawyer, has insisted that his involvement with the Berlusconi business empire was purely that of a professional adviser. Mr Mills said yesterday that it would be "unjust" to try him in an Italian court in relation to the charges. And he predicted that, if he were tried, the courts would clear him of any wrongdoing.

Mr Mills, who has represented Mr Berlusconi for more than 20 years, has been married to Ms Jowell since 1979. The 59-year-old City lawyer is a member of Tony Blair's inner circle, hosting Peter Mandelson for dinner and regularly playing golf with Alastair Campbell.

In a personal statement published yesterday, Mr Mills said: "It is now nearly 10 years since these enquiries began. The first charge covers the same ground as three previous trials involving Berlusconi, for several of whose companies I acted as a lawyer for many years.

"I gave evidence in those trials and, in each one, the Italian court held that [I had] no responsibility for any alleged wrongdoing on the part of others. To seek to charge me now on the same facts is obviously unjust, and would be impossible in the UK."

The Italian Prime Minister is being investigated for a suspected scam which allegedly allowed him to evade more than £41.5m in taxes.