Honda F1 website

MARCH 1, 2006

A scandal in Britain

British Minister of Culture Tessa Jowell is facing a government investigation into whether she breached the ministerial code of conduct by having her mortgage paid off with an alleged bribe to her husband from Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. Ms Jowell denies that she did anything wrong.

The names of Jowell and Mills are not unknown in motor racing circles. Mills, a lawyer with a long record of dealing with Italian companies, was a longtime legal counsel and director of Benetton Formula in the late 1980s and early 1990s. This created problems in 1997 when Jowell, the then Minister for Public Health, made the decision to give F1 a special dispensation for tobacco advertising despite an election pledge to end tobacco sponsorship of sport.

According to reports in England Mills could now face legal action in Italy over the payment. Italian prosecutor Fabio de Pasquale claims that he has sufficient evidence to go before a judge within 10 days to ask for an indictment against Mills.