A former UKIP MEP, Ashley Mote, has been jailed for five years for defrauding the European Parliament of almost half-a-million pounds.
On sentencing Mr Mote today at Southwark Crown Court, Mr Justice Stuart-Smith told him:
“Your greed and dishonesty were matched only by your hypocrisy, because while this was going on you carried out a high-profile campaign condemning corruption and the improper use of public money in the very institution from which you were leeching it.”
In response to mitigation from Tim Moloney QC that Mote had done valuable work as a politician, Mr Justice Smith replied:
“It’s a bit double-edged for a person who goes trumpeting loud that he’s going to clear up corruption in the European Parliament while fleecing it as hard as he could.”
Mote was elected on a UKIP ticket but later sat as an independent MEP for South East England until 2010.
The press department of the European Union Anti-Fraud Office – OLAF – has provided me with details of other cases involving UKIP MEPs:
- Derek Clark:
OLAF concluded an investigation into the UKIP MEP Derek Clark in 2009, with recommendations for financial recovery addressed to the EP. Mr Clark subsequently paid back approximately EUR 36,500 to the European Parliament.
- Graham Booth:
OLAF concluded an investigation into the UKIP MEP Graham Booth in 2010, with recommendations for financial recovery addressed to the EP. Mr Booth subsequently paid back approximately EUR 6,900 to the European Parliament.
- Den Dover:
OLAF concluded an investigation on UKIP MEP Den Dover in 2011. OLAF made recommendations to:
• The UK authorities to initiate judicial proceedings in relation to claims made by Mr Dover in respect to an EP parliamentary assistance allowance. The investigation by the UK authorities is still on-going.
• The European Parliament to undertake appropriate measures to ensure the recovery of approximately EUR 411 000. The European Parliament recovered amounts in the range of GBP £345 000, in addition to GBP 57 800 of accrued interests for late payments.
- Janice Atkinson:
Regarding UKIP MEP Janice Atkinson, who earlier this year, “allegedly plotted to make a bogus expense claim” against the EU, OLAF advised me that it would analyse the allegations against Ms Atkinson “according to standard procedures”.
OLAF further commented: “Specialised experts will evaluate the information (about Janet Atkinson) to find out whether:
• it falls within OLAF’s competence to act (i.e. it relates to OLAF’s mandate to protect the EU’s financial interests, if for example EU funds are involved etc.),
• there is sufficient suspicion of fraud, corruption or any illegal activity affecting the EU’s financial interests for OLAF to open a case (Regulation 883/2013), and,
• consideration may also be given to whether such information falls within the investigative policy priorities of OLAF.
“It is only after such an initial assessment that OLAF will decide whether or not to open an investigation.
“Please note that the fact that OLAF assesses this initial information does not mean that the individuals in question are guilty of any wrongdoing. OLAF fully respects the presumption of innocence.”
Ms Atkinson now stands as an independent MEP.
Other articles by Jon Danzig:
- What Nigel Farage told British expats in Spain
- Who do you think you are kidding, Mr Farage?
- It’s the British media that needs auditing
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