A former Labour MEP for the South East, Peter Skinner, is behind bars tonight after being jailed for four years for fraudulently claiming expenses of more than £100,000.
Skinner had been a Euro-MP for more than 20 years. The judge said the former politician had shown "huge greed ... no remorse .. and tried to blame others" for his web of deceit, and that in doing so, he had destroyed his own reputation and damaged politics too. John Ryall sent this report from Southwark Crown Court.
Some of the footage is from the European Parliament.
Kent Police have given their response to the sentencing of the former South East MEP Peter Skinner for expenses fraud at Southwark Crown Court today. The ex-MEP from Snodland in Kent was jailed for four years.
The court heard how officers from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate launched an investigation into Skinner’s activities in December 2010 after becoming aware of a potentially fraudulent document relating to consultancy work that Skinner claimed had been provided by his father.
Kent Police said that it was later established that the document, which authorised payments of £5,000 to his father’s business every three months, contained fake signatures.
Investigators carried out further audits of Skinner’s personal and office accounts and found numerous examples of the politician spending money that had been intended for staff on himself and others.
Kent Police gave examples such as the former MEP buying a Land Rover Discovery for his ex-wife and paying monthly maintenance payments as part of his divorce settlement. There was also evidence that he used the money to pay for his honeymoon to the United States and Hawaii following his second marriage.
The Investigating officer Detective Sergeant Adrian Brown said that Skinner had betrayed his supporters:
The MEP was sentenced at Southwark Crown Court today having previously been found guilty of one count of fraud, one count of false accounting and one count of making a false instrument.
The MEP had claimed about £480,000 of expenses during his time in office. An investigation found that more than £100,000 of it had been diverted for his personal use. The Prosecutor Jonathan Davies told the court the total lost to the European Parliament was £132,434.02, and the judge agreed that it was "in excess of £100,000".
Peter Skinner, the former south east Labour MEP, has been jailed for 4 years for fiddling his expenses while in office.
The prosecutor at Southwark Crown Court, Jonathan Davies, told the court the total lost to the European Parliament was £132,434.02, and the judge agreed that it was "in excess of £100,000".
Investigators had looked into allegations surrounding £480,000 of his expenses claims.
The former MEP for the South East, Peter Skinner, has arrived at Southwark Crown Court in London for sentencing after being found guilty of fiddling his expenses. Skinner, from Snodland in Kent, was found guilty of one count of making a false instrument, one count of fraud and one count of false accounting.
The 56-year-old ex Labour Member of the European Parliament admits that public trust in politicians as a whole will have been damaged by his case. It is expected that he will be jailed this morning.
Skinner claimed the maximum staff Parliamentary Assistance Allowance (PAA) between 2004 and 2009 while he was representing the South East of England in the European Parliament. The money - £480,000 - was supposed to be used for staffing costs, but instead some was used to "fund a lavish lifestyle and pay off his wife following their divorce.".