Tessa Jowell tells us she did nothing wrong. She merely signed documents to remortgage her home. She strongly asserted today that this was ‘a very normal thing to do, and certainly not illegal.’
It is indeed not unusual to remortgage, though it was unusual that she remortgaged with an offshore bank. It is also unusual to remortgage for as much as ‘400,000. But it is very unusual indeed to remortgage for ‘400,000, then pay off the full loan, within a month, with spare cash.
What sort of people do such a thing? Well, money launderers. If you have ‘400,000 of cash not easily explained, you now have remortgage papers available to show where you got it.
Now, where did the money actually come from? Well, on two occasions, David Mills has said in writing that it came from Silvio Berlusconi. He said so in a signed confession to the Italian police, which he now says was extracted under duress. And he said so in a letter to his own accountant, where he explained that it was not in fact a bribe from Berlusconi for the evidence he had just given in an Italian court to keep Berlusconi out of jail. It was rather a personal gift. Mills now says that this second occasion when he wrote that the money came from Berlusconi was in fact a lie to protect another client. One can believe him or not ‘ he is claiming to be a liar already. What we do know for certain is that, shortly after giving evidence on behalf of Berlusconi, evidence which Italian authorities now allege was perjured, David Mills received a lot of money from an Italian source, which he has difficulty accounting for and claims he needed to disguise. His wife then took out a mortgage for about the same sum, which they almost immediately then paid off again.
It stinks to heaven.
Mills is, beyond dispute, a confidante and adviser of the odious Berlusconi. Mills’ job as an international corporate lawyer is to help the cosmopolitan super rich move their money about and avoid tax, and to disguise their cash flows if necessary. Mills is a long term shyster whose activities and profession should appal Labour supporters. Everything Mills stands for is what Keir Hardie and Clement Atlee were against. So it should be of no surprise that he is close to Blair and a member of his personal circle. The day I decided Blair was calculating and self-seeking, rather than honest and misguided, was the day that Blair first chose to spend family holidays with the Berlusconis, at some of their palaces. But Blair’s friendship with the likes of Mills should have warned all of us sooner.
Now for something else you won’t find in the mainstream media. Mills was under long term surveillance by the Serious Fraud Office for numerous dubious financial transactions. Approximately nine years ago, his office was actually raided by the SFO. As the investigation drew to a close, New Labour came to power. An inside source tells me that SFO staff believed they had a good case, and wondered whether his friendship with the new Prime Minister Blair had any bearing on it not coming to court. A Sunday Times Insight investigation into Mills was spiked by the editors.
So these current peculiar financial dealings do not drop out of a clear blue sky. A lot of taxpayers’ money has been spent investigating Mills before. He is well dodgy.
What will it take for the eyes of the very many decent people still left in the Labour Party to be opened to the appalling people who now lead their party? How many of the current cabinet are not, themselves or their partners, personally millionaires? Blair has a ‘3 million house. Straw has a Cotswold mansion as one of his homes. We recall Blunkett’s dodgy directorships, and Mandelson’s loan from Robinson. Who do these people represent, except a self-serving, cosmopolitan elite? Is it any wonder they are so keen on privatising health and education, when they and all their friends can afford the best? And what does any of this have to do with the aims and origins of the Labour Party, or the hopes of those who elected them?
When you have sold your soul to Mammon, you end up doing things like launching illegal wars that kill over a hundred thousand and cost the taxpayer billions, but bring massive profits to your friends who own shares in oil companies or arms manufacturers. I have no doubt that some of those who have made a killing out of the Iraq War will have paid for Mills’ useful professional advice on offshore money transactions.
Mills and Blair will be close to those making a killing, but not those suffering the killing. It is hard to see that far from the marble terrace overlooking one of Mr Berlusconi’s private beaches.