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Last Updated: Saturday, 4 March 2006, 14:07 GMT
In Full: David Mills' statement
Here is the full statement made by solicitor David Kirk in which it was announced that his client David Mills and Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell were to separate after 27 years of marriage.

I am David Mills' solicitor, and am making this statement on his behalf.

First while the temptation for some to try the Italian case themselves day by day must be irresistible, the fact is that a proper legal process is under way in Italy, which will take some months to conclude.

My client is confident about the outcome of these proceedings.

Secondly, my client wishes to state categorically that he has never been bribed by Mr Berlusconi or by anyone on his behalf.

He very much regrets that, through a bizarre series of events for which he must take his share of responsibility, that accusation has been made against Mr Berlusconi. Mr Mills knows that the documents will prove this.

He further states that the money which is alleged to be a bribe from Mr Berlusconi was paid to Mr Mills for proper reasons and in good faith from funds held for his client, Diego Attanasio, and that the relevant documents in the case unambiguously corroborate the truth of his account.

Mr Mills has paid all taxes due on all amounts received by him from Mr Attanasio, including on the amount which he considered to be a gift, which has been taxed as income in his hands.

My client accepted the Revenue's view that the absence of a written deed of gift rendered the payment taxable, whatever the circumstances, or identity of the donor and informed them who had in fact paid the money to him.

There has been a good deal of misinformed comment about the mortgage taken out by my client and his wife in September 2000, which was paid off shortly after.

Although the document was, in law, a mortgage or charge over their jointly owned house, it was in effect simply a way of guaranteeing the bank, which had lent money to Mr Mills personally, against a fall in the value of the investments he was buying.

It was a short term loan secured in the first place on the value of the securities bought and was in fact paid off after a short time.

At that time there was no mortgage, in the usual sense, on their house in London.

Apart from what I am saying now, neither I nor Mr Mills will be making any comment on any material in this case which may make its way into the press.

It must be clear to all that the Italian prosecutors are feeding information to the press about my client with the intention of trying the case in the media rather than by due process, and making life so impossible for him that he will seek to bring the proceedings there to a quick end by making an admission.

He insists that he will not do so, as he is innocent.

This whole business has imposed a dreadful strain on my client and his marriage. He fully accepts responsibility for these pressures and for the situation into which he put his wife, who he knows is entirely blameless in all of this.

He is as mortified as she has been angered by the embarrassment he has caused her.

They hope that over time their relationship can be restored, but, given the current circumstances they have agreed to a period of separation.

They ask that the privacy of their children be fully respected.



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