Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Sleazy Mills Puts Jowell On The Spot

Sleazy Silvio Berlusconi got away scot-free but no such luck for corrupt estranged husband of Olympics minister Tessa Jowell, with an Italian court finding him guilty of taking a bribe and locking him up for four and a half years.

Nice 'n sleazy doesn't do it anymore. Tax lawyer David Mills has been found guilty of accepting the bribe of around £400,000 from Blair's favourite holiday chum, Italian prime minister, Berlusconi.

The court was told Mills used the money to help pay off a joint mortgage he held with his wife of the time, Olympics minister Jowell.

Jowell was cleared of any wrongdoing after an investigation by parliamentary officials but with a Italian court now clear the cash came from a pay-off for a bribe, the question is can a government minister use a bribery pay-off to help pay off her mortgage? 

As the Guardian points out, Jowell "signed a document crucial to the receipt of what a foreign court has now decided was a bribe."

As for Sleazy Silvio - he'd got it all sewn up. Mills and Berlusconi had been jointly accused in the case, but in the spirit of all good corrupt dictators Silvio passed a law making himself immune from any prosecution.

Mills is expected to appeal. But while any focus is on whether Jowell can survive, the issue remains that here we have an Italian prime minister paying a bribe to Jowell’s now estranged husband. 

The media tycoon turned politician was very close to Blair and hosted him and his family at his Sardinian mansion for their summer vacation but the close personal links have never really become a big political issue.

It would be ironic if Berlusconi’s financial dealings with the spouse of one of Brown's cabinet ministers eventually causes Brown more damage than Blair's close relationship with the smooth talking Italian leader who paid the cash.

Picture: Happy Days. The Blairs on holiday with nice 'n easy, nice 'n sleazy Silvio.

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