West Kensington Woman in False Accounting Case

Charged along with Former MEP Tom Wise

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Lindsay Jenkins, 62 from West Kensington has been charged with false accounting and using criminal property alongside former MEP Tom Wise.

Wise, 61, who used to represent the UK Independence Party but became an independent after being expelled from the party, was charged at Southwark Crown Court along with Jenkins, his former researcher.

The pair appeared at a 15-minute plea and case management hearing and spoke only to confirm their names and deny the charges.

The first alleges that they "falsified a document, namely a contract for the provision of services and an application for secretarial assistance allowance and invoices" between 14 December 2004 and 14 December 2005.

The second count claims that, during the same period, they received money "from the European parliament intended for use as payments for secretarial services".

The pair first appeared in court earlier this year, when the Crown Prosecution Service advised Bedfordshire Police to press charges. The charges alleged that Wise had pretended that his own bank account was actually that of Ms Jenkins, his researcher, against EU rules.

From November 2004 until October 2005, he was alleged to have channelled £39,100 into his own account, from which he paid Jenkins £13,555. When the allegations surfaced, Wise began repaying £25,530.

He had the party whip withdrawn in 2007 after UKIP learnt that he was being investigated by Olaf, the EU’s anti-fraud office. The claims were first made in a Sunday newspaper in 2005.

Derek Frame, a reviewing lawyer for the Crown Prosecution Service’s special crime division, said: " Following the publication of a news article in October 2005 relating to Mr Wise and Ms Jenkins, the European Anti-Fraud Office (Olaf) began an investigation into Mr Wise’s use of allowances. Olaf subsequently passed the investigation to Bedfordshire Police Economic Crime Unit for investigation. "

The maximum sentence for false accounting is seven years.

Stephen Welfare, Mr Wise’s lawyer, said at the time that the MEP denied any intent to deceive or any unlawful wrongdoing and would fight the allegations.

" Mr Wise repaid to the EU all excess money received but not accounted for," he said.

" It is frankly scandalous that Mr Wise has been charged with criminal offences when MEPs and MPs from the major political parties have and continue to make bogus claims for expenses for thousands of pounds on any number of pretexts. Will we now see high-profile government ministers and leading politicians being charged? "

Wise, of Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire, who has been an MEP for the East of England since 2004, and Jenkins, of West Kensington, will return to court next Friday, when a further directions hearing will then be held and a trial date fixed. In the meantime they remain on bail.


September 18, 2009

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