A Labour Party member who lied about his criminal past in order to run in a Leicestershire County Council election has been given a suspended prison sentence.
Syed Gous Ali told party officials he had a clean history when he was officially adopted as a candidate in last May’s elections for the authority.
However, it later emerged he had only recently been given a suspended prison sentence for his role in a £130,000 fraud.
Although suspicions about his past arose a few days before polling day on May 2, Ali stood in the election in the Sileby and the Wolds ward and came in second to the Conservative candidate.
Ali, who lost his partner in the 2007 London bombings, was detained by police and interviewed several days after the election.
He later pleaded guilty to an offence under the Representation of the People Act, 1983, of failing to declare a criminal conviction in electoral candidacy documents.
Electoral law dictates that people who have been given a prison sentence, including a suspended sentence, of three months or more are barred from holding public office for five years.
The 40-year-old, of Pinfold Gate, Loughborough, appeared for sentencing at Leicester Crown Court today.
The court was told that Ali had become involved in the financial fraud in 2008 by allowing some of the stolen money, an estimated £112,000, to be deposited in two bank accounts he controlled, which had been opened under false names.
The court also heard that Ali, a former chairman of the Loughborough Council of Faiths, was paid £1,000 for holding the money in the accounts.
He later gave evidence against the person behind the fraud and admitted his own role in the conspiracy.
Jonathan Dunne, prosecuting, told Leicester Crown Court: “He was doing some community work in December 2012 when he got a leaflet about becoming a candidate for the Labour Party.
“In January 2013 he attended a meeting with party officials and he filled in a form, part of which said that he should disclose anything in his personal life which would be an embarrassment to the party.
“He did not disclose the criminal matter in his past.
“Later, two Labour Party members attended his address and they took him through the requirements in law for standing as a candidate.
“Be that as it may, he completed the forms and those were sent to the deputy returning officer.”
Paul Prior, for Ali, said his client had given evidence against the person behind the financial fraud and admitted his role in it and, later, his breach of electoral law.
Mr Prior said: “He was already a member of the Labour Party and had been for a long time and did take an interest in local politics.
“He has a number of community interests and, were it not for his previous conviction, he is perhaps suitable to hold the office of local councillor.
“This was not a scheme to put himself into a position of extracting monies from the public purse, nor was it to put himself into a position of receiving remuneration.”
Judge Robert Brown told Ali, who has a law degree and works for a Loughborough law firm which specialises in civil, not criminal law: “This is a serious matter and you know that it is deliberate dishonesty.
“You pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity and recognised that what you did was wrong.
“That has saved you from a custodial sentence today.”
Ali was also placed under the supervision of a probation officer for 12 months and ordered to pay legal costs of £450.