Mills 'tried to derail Italian inquiry'

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The Independent Online

David Mills appears to have had access to privileged information from an Italian investigation into his financial dealings that he allegedly used in an attempt to derail the inquiry.

Mr Mills, who is to face charges in Italy over the alleged receipt of a bribe from Silvio Berlusconi, tried to dissuade a bank in Guernsey from co-operating with Milan prosecutors.

On 11 July 2005, police in Guernsey notified a bank on the island called Investec that it was required to furnish them with documents concerning two trust funds, the Hadrian Trust and Turiff Trust, linked to Mr Mills.

On the same day, Mr Mills telephoned an employee of the bank, Andre de la Mare, who wrote a memo in which he noted, "Mr Mills telephoned me... He said Italian authorities were trying to connect Hadrian with Mr Berlusconi, but the connection did not exist."

The implication of the exchange was that Mr Mills was receiving secret help from a mole inside the prosecutors' office.

It also emerged that prosecutors believe the true size of the bribe allegedly paid to Mr Mills may have been as much as £1m. According to prosecutors, the paper trail begins with the sum of $2m (£1m) held by a money management group in the Bahamas in 1997. A fax identifying the provenance of the money was missing when police raided Mr Mills's premises last month.

Half the money was used in dealings Mr Mills had with the shipping magnate Diego Attanasio. Of the rest, $600,000 went on a complicated runabout before finally extinguishing the debt on the Mills-Jowell family home. But the remaining $400,000, it is claimed, was channelled into bank accounts controlled by Mr Mills.

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