Out of the woods?

Jowell facing new Mills questions

From the Scotsman

Tessa Jowell is facing renewed questions over her estranged husband’s financial dealings as he awaits a decision over whether he will be tried for corruption in Italy.

The Culture Secretary denied earlier this week that David Mills had ever owned shares in pub chain the Old Monk Company after reports at the weekend that he made ‘67,000 from dealing in them.

But Italian prosecutors looking into Mr Mills’s affairs have released a series of letters suggesting a company owned by Mr Mills did own the shares. In a hand-written letter the beneficial owner of the company said she had transferred the shares to Mr Mills.

Tory opponents say Ms Jowell should have declared that in the register of MPs’ interests. Tory MP Nigel Evans said: “This is a declarable interest that should have been declared in the register of members’ interests. It doesn’t matter at the end of the day that his name wasn’t on the share ownership. If it was on the company that owned the shares and he benefited from the profit then clearly they were declarable.”

Mr Evans has written to the parliamentary commissioner for standards, Sir Philip Mawer, asking him to look into the claims.

Mr Mills, who split from Ms Jowell at the weekend, is expected to learn within days whether he and Italy’s Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, will be put on trial for corruption. Both men deny that lawyer Mr Mills was bribed by Mr Berlusconi to give false evidence in another court case.

Magistrates in Milan are deciding whether to indict them, a move which would put Mr Mills’ financial affairs under renewed scrutiny.