Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

No strategy and a beige suit

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 29 August 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 29 August 2014

Read more

ENCORE!

Alain Choquette: A Hilarious Magician in Paris

Read more

FOCUS

France welcomes Iraqi Christian refugees

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Emmanuel Macron: A new economy minister with a pro-business agenda

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

More of this year's best Observers stories

Read more

#TECH 24

Changing the world, one video game at a time

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Socialist Party summer conference kicks off in explosive atmosphere

Read more

  • EU leaders choose Tusk and Mogherini for top jobs, discuss Russia sanctions

    Read more

  • Dozens of UN peacekeepers still held by Syrian jihadists

    Read more

  • Opposition protesters clash with Pakistani police outside PM's house

    Read more

  • Austerity row overshadows French Socialist’s annual rally

    Read more

  • Egypt sentences Brotherhood leader Badie to life

    Read more

  • Ceasfire allows Gaza families to relax on the beach

    Read more

  • S. Africa condemns 'military coup' in Lesotho

    Read more

  • Kerry calls for 'coalition of nations' to battle IS militants

    Read more

  • Ukrainian plane with seven on board crashes in Algeria

    Read more

  • Exclusive: Fabius warns Russia of more sanctions

    Read more

  • IMF backs Lagarde amid French corruption probe

    Read more

  • Ebola drug ‘ZMapp’ heals all monkeys in study

    Read more

  • British killer escapes from French psychiatric hospital

    Read more

  • Police hunt for British boy with brain tumour taken to France

    Read more

  • Ukraine to relaunch NATO membership bid

    Read more

  • Suriname leader’s son pleads guilty to courting Hezbollah

    Read more

  • Mapping Ukraine: Canada and Russia in ‘tweet for tat’ row

    Read more

Europe

Berlusconi's former lawyer sentenced for giving false evidence

Latest update : 2009-02-17

A court in Milan has sentenced David Mills, the British former tax lawyer of Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi (pictured), to four and a half years in prison for giving false evidence. Mills maintains his innocence and says the judgment is political.

AFP - The former tax lawyer of Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, Britain's David Mills, was found guilty Tuesday of accepting a bribe and sentenced to four-and-a-half years in jail.
   
The 600,000-dollar bribe is alleged to have come from Berlusconi, who last year passed a law making himself immune from prosecution, in return for Mills providing false evidence in two earlier trials in the late 1990s.
   
After the verdict and sentence were announced at a court in Milan, 64-year-old Mills issued a statement in London protesting his innocence and saying he was hopeful he would be cleared on appeal.
   
"I am naturally very disappointed by this verdict. I am innocent, but this is a highly political case.
   
"The judges have not yet given their reasons for their decision, so I cannot say how they dealt with the prosecutor's own admission that he had no proof.
   
"I am hopeful that the verdict and sentence will be set aside on appeal and am told that I will have excellent grounds, and have every faith in my excellent lawyer, Federico Cecconi."
   
Cecconi, announcing their intention to appeal, said the sentence ran "contrary to all logic and we are challenging it."
   
Mills, the estranged husband of British Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell, once admitted receiving the amount from the media tycoon "in recognition" for his work, but he later recanted and said the money was a stipend paid to him by Italian shipbuilder Diego Attanasio.
   
"This is a terrible blow to David and, although we are separated, I have never doubted his innocence," Jowell, speaking in London, said after the sentence and verdict were announced.
   
Mills and Berlusconi, along with a dozen other defendants, are also accused of tax fraud in the purchase of film rights in the United States by Mediaset, the television group owned by the Berlusconi family.
   
AFP - Mills is being tried separately in the case, since Berlusconi is shielded from prosecution while in office under a law passed shortly after he returned to power in May 2008 with a comfortable parliamentary majority.
   
The law grants political immunity to the incumbents of Italy's four top jobs: prime minister, president and the speakers of the two houses of parliament.
   
Berlusconi has repeatedly accused magistrates, notably in his native Milan, of conducting a politically motivated campaign against him.
   
Mills expressed hope that Italy's protracted appeals process could still see him cleared.
   
"The sentence does not become effective for any purpose until two levels of appeal have been concluded," his statement said.
   
"I have been advised not to make any further public comment on the case until it has finally come to an end. Meanwhile, I am getting on with my professional life."
 

Date created : 2009-02-17

COMMENT(S)