British lawmaker jailed for expenses fraud

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A British lawmaker was jailed for 18 months Friday for making false expenses claims, becoming the first politician to be convicted and sentenced over a scandal which rocked the country's parliament.

David Chaytor, 61, a former lawmaker for the now opposition Labour party, submitted bogus invoices to support claims totalling 22,650 pounds (35,100 dollars, 27,100 euros) for computer services and renting homes in London and in his constituency in northwest England.

But in fact he and his mother already owned the properties and he did not pay out any of his own money, Southwark Crown Court in London heard.

Chaytor pleaded guilty last month to three counts of false accounting between November 2005 and January 2008.

He stood down from parliament at the general election last year having been barred by Labour from standing for them again after stories about his claims emerged during the 2009 expenses scandal.

Dozens of lawmakers and ministers were caught up in the scandal, when the Daily Telegraph obtained details of lawmakers' claims for everything from widescreen TVs to an ornamental duck house for one lawmaker's garden.

But the worst abuses came in claims for housing sometimes totalling tens of thousands of pounds over a number of year.

Another two lawmakers are to face trial over their expenses claims.

The scandal shook the electorate's trust in politics and was a key issue in campaigning for May's election, which saw Gordon Brown's Labour swept from power to be replaced with a coalition government headed by Prime Minister David Cameron, a Conservative.

© 2011 AFP

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