Mills and Berlusconi to face trial on corruption charges

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.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
sportWWE latest including Sting vs Triple H, Brock Lesnar vs Roman Reigns and The Undertaker vs Bray Wyatt
Arts and Entertainment
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity takes him behind the bars again
tvBy Reason of Insanity, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark, TV review
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor