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Last Updated: Saturday, 6 May 2006, 23:07 GMT 00:07 UK
Jowell's husband to 'clear name'
David Mills and Tessa Jowell
David Mills has separated from UK Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell
David Mills, the estranged husband of Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell, has vowed he will clear his name over allegations about his finances.

Italian prosecutors allege he took a bribe from a past client, ex-Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

In a new magazine interview Mr Mills admitted the "blood drained from his face" during questioning by the Italian authorities in 2004.

The lawyer also repeated his wish that he would be reconciled with his wife.

The couple announced they were splitting up in March saying their marriage had been put under "strain" by the controversy.

He has previously said the separation was his idea because he was being used as a stick to beat his wife with.

I thought to myself 'My God, what on earth am I going to say about this?'
David Mills

In his latest interview with Legal Business magazine - which will be published on Tuesday - Mr Mills said he had found paperwork that would help him beat the prosecution and clear his name.

Prosecutors claim Mr Berlusconi paid Mr Mills 344,000 for helpful testimony in two court cases, but both men deny wrongdoing.

Mr Mills, who has been receiving treatment for a heart complaint, came under renewed scrutiny after a letter to his accountant Bob Drennan revealed how he had "kept Mr B (Berlusconi) out of a great deal of trouble".

Prosecutors summonsed Mr Mills to Milan in July 2004, for questioning.

He told the magazine: "A few minutes into the interview he (a magistrate) handed me my letter to Bob Drennan.

"My lawyer was there. He told me he literally saw the blood drain from my face.

"I thought to myself 'My God, what on earth am I going to say about this?"'

'Inner-most secrets'

He said he will be able to prove the money he received was not a bribe from Mr Berlusconi, but came from a Neapolitan shipbuilder called Diego Attanasio.

He said his letter to the accountant had "muddied the waters", adding: "Of course it looks incriminating - that's what false confessions are. They are very incriminating."

He said he had found new evidence and had faxed it to his lawyer in Milan.

"We're going to go on the offensive in Italy and knock this ridiculous case out once and for all," he said.

He claimed he was never a close confidante of the prime minister.

"They thought I knew the inner-most secrets of the Berlusconi financial empire, which I simply don't."

Repeating his wish that his marriage to Ms Jowell could be repaired he said: "I hope that, with peace and privacy and time, things will return to normal, but we've both been through the most terrible trauma."

Court hearings on whether to indict Mr Berlusconi and Mr Mills on corruption charges begin on 5 June.


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