BBC Panorama – David Mills

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I was pleased to take part in BBC's Panorama programme last night. The programme discussed David Mills, the former husband of UK cabinet minister Tessa Jowell. Mills is shortly to stand trial for corruption alongside Silvio Berlusconi, the former Italian prime minister.

The programme did not rehash well known material but focused most heavily on Mill's involvement in blood trafficking in the mid 1990s, as the transcript shows. I have only one argument with the programme. John Sweeney, the BAFTA winning investigative journalist with whom I worked on it, says:

The film asks why such a talented and clever operator, fluent in Italian and a master of offshore financial know-how, has allowed his reputation - and by association his wife's - to be damaged by his choice of clients.

I have to be honest, I do not think Mills a clever operator. He sold offshore companies and managed them for clients (as is very apparent from the documents I have seen, all the invoices for the blood trafficking being, for example, addressed in his office in London). And he did so on the basis of a naive belief that no one would find out about this, or so it seems. That was not clever.

Nor was has habit of backdating contracts, including dating a key contract in one company before it was incorporated (such an elementary mistake that the description 'clever' really is not appropriate).

And nor is arranging for documents to disappear 'clever'.

I suggested on screen that the backdating of one document was fraudulent. It's hard to see what else it could have been. Prima facie I think Mills has a case to answer in Italy.

But others have issues to address as well, and I'll come back to those.