A court in the United Kingdom has today sentenced former Member of European Parliament Ashley Mote to five years in prison. Mr Mote was found guilty of several fraud-related offences committed to the detriment of the European Parliament’s budget. The court case was triggered by an investigation of the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) of 2010 and a subsequent investigation by British authorities.
The OLAF investigation focused on the expenditure of a part of Mr Mote’s allowances for hiring parliamentary assistance through a specific service provider. OLAF gathered evidence showing that the MEP, by presenting false and misleading documents to the European Parliament, diverted EUR 355,000 into private accounts.
OLAF’s investigation was closed at the end of 2010. The OLAF final report was sent to the European Parliament with a recommendation for financial recovery of the unduly claimed expenses, and to the UK judiciary with the recommendation to consider criminal proceedings.
The subsequent, extended, UK police investigation did not only confirm OLAF’s findings, but also revealed that more payments of the MEP’s parliamentary assistance allowance were paid on the basis of false and misleading documents which Mr Mote submitted to the Parliament.
On the basis of the OLAF and the UK police investigations, the trial at London’s Southwark Crown started on 20 April. The jury also heard an OLAF investigator as a witness. Mr Mote was found guilty of 11 offences in May. Today, the court sentenced Mr Mote to five years in prison.
Zoë Martin, specialist prosecutor at the Crown Prosecution Service said, “Ashley Mote purported to expose fraud and promote accountability within the European Parliament. However, these values were not applied to his own blatantly dishonest actions as an MEP.
“Over a period of five years, Mr Mote misused his allowances as a member of the European Parliament to fund his personal expenses. This included paying off part of a bridging loan and the mortgage on his home. He also used the European Parliament funds to pay his legal bills in connection with his previous fraud trial and a related civil action.”