Jowell’s ex found guilty of corruption

By staff

The estranged husband of Olympics minister Tessa Jowell has been sentenced to four years and six months in an Italian jail after being found guilty of corruption.

The sentence is only two months less than that requested by the prosecution.

David Mills was accused of taking $600,000 (£400,000) in bribes from Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi in exchange for giving favourable evidence during a trial.

Mills was one of Mr Berlusconi’s consultants on offshore tax havens.

Ms Jowell said the verdict was “a terrible blow” and added she had never doubt her estranged husband’s innocence.

Mr Mills said today he was “very disappointed” by the judgement.

The trial, which is three years old, saw Mr Mills refuse to travel to Milan to attend the court – perfectly legally – and write a letter summarising his defence.

“It is right that I should say from the beginning that I have made mistakes, I have carried out my business affairs badly and I have caused bother to a lot of people,” he wrote.

“These people did not deserve the trouble they found themselves but I have never been bribed by anyone, not by Silvio Berlusconi or any other person.

“In the course of my professional activities many people have entrusted themselves to my integrity and none of them has ever had any reason to complain.”

Mr Mills’ Italian lawyer has already confirmed he will seek an appeal, expected to take around two years.

The charges stem from a letter Mills sent to a British accountant in 2004, where he said a ‘Mr B’ had paid the money to him.

“I turned some very tricky corners, to put it mildly, and so kept Mr B out of a great deal of trouble that I would have landed him in had I said all I knew,” he wrote.

Mills claimed the letter described a hypothetical situation.

When the court case began Mr Berlusconi was joint accused, but a law has since been passed making senior government figures immune from prosecution.

The scandal threatened to overwhelm Tony Blair’s government but Ms Jowell’s decision to split up with her husband managed to limit the fallout on British politics.

Ms Jowell is not accused of any wrong doing at all.