David Millz

David Millz

British lawyer, specialist in tax evasion.
Country: Great Britain

Biography of David Mills

David Mackenzie Mills was born in 1944. He studied at the University College, Oxford, and became a lawyer specializing in tax evasion. He started his legal career working on court cases and served on the local council of the Camden area in London. It was during this time that he met Tessa Jowell, a member of the British Labour Party and later the Minister of Culture. Mills and Jowell started living together in 1978 and got married the following year.

In the same period, Mills shifted his focus from litigation and began providing legal advice. He opened a representative office of the Milan-based law firm Carnelutti Studio Legale Associato in London. He also founded his own firm, Mackenzie Mills, which later merged with Withers, a prominent London company, where Mills became a senior partner. Mills primarily worked with Italian businessmen, including Silvio Berlusconi, a construction and television magnate and former Prime Minister of Italy.

Mills played a key role in creating Reteitalia, a company owned by Berlusconi's Fininvest group, which specialized in the trade of film and television show rights. He also established CMM Corporate Services, a company that helped Italian businessmen, including Berlusconi, evade taxes through offshore companies. Mills was closely associated with Horizon, a Luxembourg-based firm dealing with the rights for various TV programs, from 1990 onwards.

In 1995, Mills met with Berlusconi in London, and the scandals surrounding their collaboration began to unfold. Italian authorities started investigating Berlusconi's commercial activities in the mid-1990s. Mills provided testimony in favor of Berlusconi during the subsequent legal proceedings in 1997 and 1998.

In 2001, Mills joined the law firm Gordon Dadds as a partner, and in 2003, he founded Mills Saint James. Italian authorities intensified their investigation into the offshore companies created by Mills, which were involved in trading television broadcast rights. In 2004, the tax department sent a request to Mills regarding a payment he received from Berlusconi in 1999. Mills confessed in a letter to his accountants that the money was a reward for his testimony in court. However, he later retracted this confession and claimed that the source of the money was an Italian shipbuilding magnate, Diego Attanasio.

The scandals surrounding Mills affected his relationship with his wife. Their troubles began in 1997 when Jowell, who was then a junior health minister, was involved in a decision regarding tobacco advertising in Formula-1 racing. In 2003, Mills was accused of using his wife's position as the Minister of Culture, Media, and Sport to seek advice from Elizabeth Symons, the junior Foreign Office minister, on commercial matters.

In 2006, Mills and Berlusconi, along with twelve others, were accused of tax evasion related to the creation of a mechanism for avoiding Italian taxes in the 1990s. The offshore companies purchased the rights to American films and television shows and resold them to Berlusconi's Mediaset at lower prices. Mills and Berlusconi were also accused of bribery, with specific reference to the infamous $600,000 payment. The preliminary hearings for these cases began in June, and in July, the decision to prosecute fourteen individuals for tax evasion was made. The trial was scheduled to start on November 21. In October 2006, it was also decided that the trial for bribery would commence in March 2007. However, the court hearings were postponed twice due to various reasons.

The series of scandals took a toll on Mills' relationship with Jowell, and they separated in March 2006. Mills and Jowell have two children together, and Mills has three children from his previous marriage and two grandchildren.