Mills and Berlusconi to face trial on corruption charges
Tuesday 31 October 2006
David Mills, the estranged husband of Tessa Jowell, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, has been ordered to stand trial in Italy alongside the country's former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi on corruption charges.
Mr Berlusconi, now the leader of the opposition, is accused of paying a bribe of at least $600,000 (£315,000) to Mr Mills, a corporate lawyer, and Mr Mills of accepting it. In return it is claimed that Mr Mills withheld information damaging to Mr Berlusconi in two trials during the 1990s.
The trial is due to start in March next year. The key evidence against Mr Mills, who first became involved in setting up offshore accounts for Mr Berlusconi and his companies in 1980, is a note that Mr Mills wrote to his accountant in which he said he had received $600,000 from "the B people" for which, during his appearances in court, he had "turned some very tricky corners, to put it mildly", and thereby had "kept Mr B out of a great deal of trouble I would have landed him in if I had said all I knew".
Questioned by Italian prosecutors, Mr Mills confirmed that the letter was authentic but said the sum was a "present" from Carlo Bernasconi, an old friend of Mr Berlusconi and the head of the Swiss office of Fininvest, Mr Berlusconi's finance company, until his death in 2001. The sum, he now claimed, was nothing to do with the evidence he had given but to compensate him for losses he had incurred during an unrelated Berlusconi transaction. But he subsequently changed his account again and said the letter was not a description of what really happened but purely hypothetical. He now said the sum came from a Neapolitan ship owner called Diego Attanasio, for whom he had set up shell companies in tax havens. Mr Attanasio has denied that he paid the sum to Mr Mills.
Mr Berlusconi's spokesman said: "This is another low blow against Silvio Berlusconi which has nothing to do with justice and a lot to do with politics."
The bribery case has been spun off from a separate case involving the two men which comes to trial on 21 November. In that case Mr Berlusconi is accused of buying Hollywood film rights through offshore companies set up by Mr Mills, then selling them on to his own television network at inflated prices, thereby artificially bringing down his Italian companies' profits and saving himself, it is claimed, some €60m in tax.
Culinary experts in The Netherlands thought it was 'fresh' and 'tasty'
Of all the computers Apple has ever made there’s only one that Steve Jobs had to sell his car to finance
- 1 As an ex prostitute, I urge all the political parties to commit to the Sex Buyer Law
- 2 Nokia no more: Microsoft drops once-ubiquitous mobile name – in favour of its Lumia brand
- 3 Renee Zellweger on plastic surgery: 'I'm living a more fulfilling life and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows'
- 4 Australian café owner sparks debate after saying 'No' to having unruly children on premises
- 5 Couple die within 28 hours of each other after being married for 73 years
Renee Zellweger on plastic surgery: 'I'm living a more fulfilling life and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows'
Isis releases first video showing the stoning of woman accused of committing adultery as her father shouts 'don't call me Dad'
Banksy not arrested: Internet duped by fake report claiming artist's identity revealed
Diwali: What is the festival of lights – and how is it celebrated around the world?
Nelson Bunker Hunt dead: Former world’s richest man dies in 'modest circumstances' in US after losing his fortune
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
London bus driver 'kicks gay couple off for kissing'
£20000 - £22000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Systems Tester - Functional/Non-Func...
£350 - £360 per day: Ashdown Group: SQL Developer with T-SQL, Watford, Hertfor...
£65000 - £80000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Business Intelligence Consultant - C...
£70 - £85 per day: Randstad Education Group: SEN Teaching Assistants needed in...