Former MEP found guilty of expenses fraud
Ex S&D group deputy Peter Skinner facing jail term, following conviction of 'extremely serious offences'.
Skinner who served in the European Parliament from 1999 to 2014 as a British Labour party MEP received a Parliamentary Assistance Allowance (PAA) worth around €650,000 between 2004 and 2007 to pay for staff, the court heard.
However, Skinner is said to have channelled thousands of pounds of that funding into his own account, spending it on luxury items.
The prosecutor at the trial, in Southwark Crown Court in London, Jonathan Davies said: “On each occasion it (payment) was made shortly before a trip to the US and was spent on hotels, restaurants, shops, clothes and jewellery - improper use, we say, of PAA.”
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He also made fraudulent payments worth €12,500 a month to his wife from December 2007 until July 2009, which allowed him to claim the PAA.
The court also heard how Skinner fabricated a letter claiming his father worked for him to justify sending his parents around €6,000 every three months.
He was found guilty of one count of making a false instrument, one of false accounting and a one count of fraud in the period between 2004 and 2009.
Skinner was cleared of a further charge of false accounting relating to a claim made in 2006.
The judge said: “You have been convicted of extremely serious offences.
“You will know no doubt from the knowledge you have of what has happened to your colleagues in a similar situation that an immediate prison sentence is almost inevitable.”
A UK Labour Party spokesman said: “Peter Skinner has clearly not upheld the high standards we would expect of an elected representative.
“He is no longer a member of the Labour Party.”
Skinner will be sentenced on 29 April.
This article was originally published on our UK sister news website PoliticsHome
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