Scandal splits Cabinet minister, husband

LONDON, March 4 (UPI) -- British Minister of Culture Tessa Jowell and her husband, David Mills, are separating in the wake of a scandal involving an alleged payoff.

Mills, a lawyer, received a gift of 344,000 pounds ($600,000) that he denies was a bribe from Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. Jowell, who signed a mortgage document that figured in the transfer of the money, has been cleared of violating the rules of conduct for the Cabinet, the BBC reported.


"This whole business has imposed a dreadful strain on my client and his marriage," said Mills' lawyer, David Kirk. "He fully accepts responsibility for these pressures and for the situation into which he put his wife, who he knows is entirely blameless in all of this."

The couple hope for an eventual reconciliation, Kirk said.

Mills denies the gift, which was used to repay the mortgage, was a bribe for testifying on behalf of Berlusconi in an Italian investigation. London police recently raided Mills' home and office at the request of Italian prosecutors.

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