Former Labour minister Denis MacShane charged over false expenses claims for almost £13,000

Former minister is accused of faking receipts totalling £12,900

Political Correspondent

The former Europe minister in Tony Blair's government, Denis MacShane, is to be charged with false accounting over parliamentary expenses alleged to be worth nearly £13,000, prosecutors have announced.

Malcolm McHaffie, deputy head of the Crown Prosecution Service's special crime division said the charges against the former Foreign Office minister concerned allegedly fake receipts for research and translation services carried out by a political institute that did not engage in that type of work.

The CPS official said : "Having thoroughly reviewed the evidence gathered by the police, I have decided there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest to bring a criminal charge"

He confirmed the false accounting charge, contrary to the Theft Act, related to fraudulent claims with a total value of £12,900.

Mr McHaffie said : "Denis MacShane now stands charged with a criminal offence and has the right to a fair trial. It is extremely important that nothing should be reported which could prejudice his trial."

Mr MacShane, a high profile and respected parliamentarian who holds a doctorate in international economics, resigned as MP for Rotherham last November after a the Commons' standards and privileges committee said he had wrongfully claimed at least £7,500 in expenses.

The parliamentary committee alleged he had submitted false invoices. The receipts were described as relating to Mr McShane's political work in Europe and connected to his previous ministerial brief.

Although the money was quickly repaid, alongside public assurances that there had been no personal gain from the expenses claims, Mr MacShane nevertheless said he was resigning to show that MPs should take responsibility for their mistakes and accept the consequences of being in breach of House rules.

Mr MacShane, who worked for the BBC from 1969 to 1977, had represented the Rotherham constituency since 1994.

He was minister for Europe in the Blair administration from 2002 to 2005.

He has been ordered to appear at the City of Westminster Magistrates Court on 30 July.

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