Former Ukip MEP Ashley Mote convicted of fraudulently claiming £500,000 in expenses

He submitted false claims for work that was never carried out

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The Independent Online

A disgraced MEP is facing a possible jail sentence after being found guilty of fraudulently claiming almost £500,000 in expenses from the European Parliament.

Former Ukip member Ashley Mote, 79, went on to use the ill-gotten gains to fund his lengthy court battles, Southwark Crown Court heard.

He was convicted of 12 fraud-related offences between 2004 and 2010 today following a month-long trial and will be sentenced at a later date.

Mr Justice Stuart Smith released Mote on bail but warned of a likely prison sentence.

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Mote fraudulently claimed almost half a million pounds in expenses from the European Parliament

“He must appreciate that there is a very strong likelihood that a custodial sentence will follow,” the judge said.

Mote, of Binsted in Hampshire, was found guilty of four counts of obtaining a money transfer by deception, three of false accounting, two of fraud, and one each of acquiring criminal property, concealing criminal property and theft.

The prosecution claimed that the disgraced politician, who represented the South East of England, submitted numerous false claims for parliamentary assistance allowance to pay for work he claimed was carried out on his behalf.

He also dishonestly obtained approximately €355,000 (£260,000) and £184,000 of allowances that he was not entitled to.

Jurors heard that two of the organisations he claimed were working on his behalf had previously campaigned against UK membership of the EU.

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Mote was thrown out of Nigel Farage's party before he took his seat in the European Parliament

But the Better Off Out Fund (Boof) and Direct Action Resistance To Tyranny (Dartt) never actually did any work for Mote, the court heard.

He made claims of £16,000 against Boof and £54,000 in relation to Dartt.

Between 2004, when he was elected as a Ukip candidate, and 2009, Mote claimed a total of £750,000 in parliamentary assistance allowance, including legitimate reimbursements.

Mote never represented Ukip in the European Parliament. Shortly before he took up his seat in 2004 he was thrown out of Nigel Farage's party because he was being prosecuted by the Department for Work and Pensions for benefit fraud.

He sat as an independent MEP until 2009, when he decided not to stand for re-election.

Additional reporting by PA