British ex-Europe minister pleads guilty to expenses con

18th November 2013, Comments 0 comments

Britain's former Europe minister Denis MacShane faces jail after pleading guilty Monday to falsely claiming thousands of pounds in parliamentary expenses to fund trips abroad.

MacShane admitted making bogus claims for £12,900 ($20,900, 15,500 euros) in parliamentary expenses when he appeared at the Old Bailey, London's main criminal court.

The former Labour lawmaker submitted fake receipts for translation services and used the cash to pay for trips to Europe, including to judge a literary competition in Paris.

Judge Nigel Sweeney said that "all sentencing options remain open" when he sentences MacShane on December 19, before granting him unconditional bail.

MacShane faces a maximum sentence of seven years although it is likely to be lower.

MacShane resigned as the member of parliament for Rotherham in northern England in November 2012.

He had been a lawmaker since 1994 and was former premier Tony Blair's Europe minister from 2002 to 2005.

Police started examining MacShane's expenses nearly three years ago, as part of a major expenses scandal triggered by revelations in the Daily Telegraph newspaper, before dropping the case.

But the investigation was reopened after a parliamentary standards committee report published a year ago -- which included details that had not previously been seen by police -- found that he had made bogus expenses claims.

The report said MacShane faked signatures on receipts for translation services from the European Policy Institute, a think-tank he controlled.

A number of other lawmakers were also jailed as part of the expenses scandal, triggering a debate over parliamentary perks that continues in British politics to this day.

© 2013 AFP

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