Monday, November 23, 2009

Only Four Face Expenses Fiddling Charges

Four MPs and peers could face jail of up to ten years for fiddling their expenses after files on a Scotland Yard probe into alleged fraud was handed over to state prosecutors.

The Telegraph disclosed last week that just six MPs and peers are facing criminal charges of fraud following police investigations into the wide-spread scandalous abuse of parliamentary expenses.

The Telegraph reports those facing prosecution are: New Labour MPs Elliot Morley, David Chaytor and Jim Devine, and peers Baroness Uddin, Lord Hanningfield and Lord Clarke of Hampstead.

Out of all the crooks, cheats and chancers in the House of Shame, the CPS has been handed files on four, who have not been officially named, with two more expected to follow.

Specialist police working with the Legg audit have been investigating expenses abuses since the MPs' sordid scandal was exposed by the Telegraph over the summer. The Sunday Times has taken the lead in hot pursuit of Lords a-leaping around phantom 'second homes'.

Both Brown and Cameron have said they expect prosecutions, according to the Telegraph.

But it is the Director of Public Prosecutions who will decide whether there is a 'reasonable' chance of conviction and if it is 'in the public interest' to bring prosecutions. Hmmm? No decision is expected until the New Year.

Even if the MPs and peers are charged, it is unlikely any trial would start until well after the general election.

Meanwhile MPs Shahid Malik and Tony McNulty will face no further action over their dodgy expenses claims, according to the Telegraph. Police have ruled out criminal investigations into the second homes 'flipping' scam or capital gains tax avoidance fiddle.

The parliamentarians could face jail terms of up to ten years if found guilty of fiddling their expenses. Politicians found guilty of fraud or false accounting face maximum penalties of 10 or seven years in prison respectively. All the MPs and peers deny criminal wrongdoing.

Top picture: Clockwise from top left: Lord Clarke of Hampstead, Baroness Uddin, Lord Hanningfield, Elliot Morley, David Chaytor, Jim Devine. (Telegraph)

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