Former MEP charged with money laundering

Friday 01 August 2014 Updated: 01/08 09:15

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FORMER West Midlands MEP Nikki Sinclaire has been charged with money laundering and misconduct in public office.

She will appear at Birmingham Magistrates’ Court on September 17 to answer allegations she made false and dishonest submissions for travelling expenses and transferred the proceeds of fraud through a bank account in her name.

The offences are alleged to have taken place between October 2009 and July 2010 when Ms Sinclaire was a serving Member of the European Parliament.

The 45-year-old, of Velsheda Road in Shirley, Solihull, was originally arrested in February 2012 and has since been on police bail.

Three other members of the public were also arrested but will face no further action.

West Midlands Police has been working jointly with officers from the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) on the investigation.

Simon Orme, specialist lawyer with the Crown Prosecution Service special crime division, said: “The decision to prosecute was taken in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors.

“We have determined there is a realistic prospect of conviction and that a prosecution is in the public interest. Criminal proceedings have now commenced and Ms Sinclaire has the right to a fair trial.”

Ms Sinclaire said she was confident she would be cleared of all charges she described as ludicrous and unfounded.

"I am disappointed the police have chosen to charge me with the above offences without questioning me on them, after a two and a half year investigation. The charges relate to my time as a UKIP MEP when I was under the guidance and oversight by the party in the Parliament. This will prove pivotal in resolving the matter.

"During my time as an MEP I put in more than £120,000 of my salary into the cost of my work activities.

"It was also me, who in 2010, drew the attention of the West Midlands Police, to irregularities I discovered had taken place, without my knowledge, in my UKIP office.

"I strongly refute these charges and will be firmly defending myself. I am certain I shall be found innocent of these ludicrous and unfounded accusations."

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