Former Ukip MEP ‘claimed £500,000 in expenses to fund his legal fees after he was prosecuted for benefits fraud’
Ashley Mote, 79, of Hampshire, accused of string of fraud-related offences
They include acquiring criminal property and money transfer by deception
He denies 11 offences alleged to have taken place between 2004 and 2010
Southwark Crown Court hears of ‘sophisticated fraud over several years’
By MARK DUELL FOR MAILONLINE
21 April 2015
A former Ukip MEP fraudulently claimed almost £500,000 in European Parliament expenses – using some of it to fund his domestic court battles, a court heard today.
Ashley Mote, 79, of Binsted, Hampshire, is accused of a string of fraud-related offences including acquiring criminal property and obtaining a money transfer by deception.
Some of the money he allegedly made from the fraud went towards funding various legal costs he had built up as a result of being prosecuted in the UK for benefit fraud offences, a jury at London’s Southwark Crown Court was told.
He denies 11 offences alleged to have taken place between November 2004 and July 2010.
Jonathan Davies, prosecuting, said that as an MEP, Mote could claim expenses, including a Parliamentary Assistance Allowance, or Secretarial Allowance, to help fund his work.
Mr Davies said: ‘What the prosecution say happened between 2004 and 2009, when Mr Mote ceased to be an MEP, is that he abused that allowance by submitting false claims for payment for work which he said to the European Parliament had been done by organisations working on his behalf.’
Jurors heard that two of the organisations had previously campaigned against UK membership of the European Union. They were the Better Off Out Fund (Boof), and Direct Action Resistance To Tyranny (Dartt).
However, it is alleged that neither of these companies conducted any work for Mote, who made claims of £16,000 against Boof, and £54,000 to Dartt. ‘They were simply used as a front to perpetrate, carry out fraud and to receive monies from the European Parliament,’ said Mr Davies.
Mote is also said to have falsely claimed £5,000 a month for work he claimed had been carried out by Estonia based company Icos (Information Centrum Owned State).
It is alleged that he even set up a Danish bank account under the similar name of ‘Information Centrim OS’ for funds from the European Parliament to be paid into, ‘dishonestly obtaining’ approximately €355,000.
Giving details of Mote carrying out fraud to fund his rising legal bills, Mr Davies said: ‘He asked for payments to be made to the firm of solicitors on the basis that they were providing him with advice in relation to his duties as an MEP.
‘In fact the money was being used to fund a number of criminal and civil proceedings related to Mr Mote’s prosecution for benefit fraud offences, and indeed some unrelated civil proceedings.
‘Basically we say he was using European Parliament money to fund his defence and various appeals in connection with being prosecuted for benefit fraud.’
Mr Davies continued: ‘This was a sophisticated fraud committed over several years during which Mr Mote made a number of false representations and produced a number of false documents in order to deceive the European Parliament into believing that significant amounts of work were being done on his behalf, relating to his work as an MEP.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3049048/Former-Ukip-MEP-claimed-500-000-expenses-fund-legal-fees-prosecuted-benefits-fraud.html#ixzz3Y7g0zE7Q
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