Prosecutors see Westminster 'fraud' files

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Indy Politics

Scotland Yard detectives referred four cases of potential fraud by parliamentarians to prosecutors today.

Four files of evidence were handed to officials at the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

The cases relate to four people, including members of the House of Lords and House of Commons, a spokesman said.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: "The Metropolitan Police Service has today delivered four main files of evidence relating to parliamentary expenses to the Crown Prosecution Service.

"The files relate to four people, from both the House of Lords and the House of Commons, and will now be subject to CPS consideration on whether there should be any charges.

"A small number of cases remain under investigation."

Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer must now decide whether there is a realistic chance of convicting the four and what charges, if any, to bring.

The politicians could face charges of fraud or false accounting, with maximum penalties of 10 or seven years.

Scotland Yard launched several inquiries in June into allegations that politicians abused their expenses and allowances.

As a torrent of evidence of dubious claims flooded out of Westminster, police focused on individuals who claimed so-called "phantom mortgages".

Among them is former Labour minister Elliot Morley, who claimed £16,000 interest payments on a property where the loan was already paid off.

It emerged he claimed around £800-a-month mortgage interest on his Scunthorpe home for about 18 months after the loan was repaid.

Mr Morley said he did not know whether his was among the files passed to the CPS.

"I have heard absolutely nothing. I have no idea where this story has come from," he said.

A CPS spokesman said a decision on whether the charge the four individuals under suspicion will be made "as quickly as is reasonably practical".

He said: "The Crown Prosecution Service can confirm that it has today received four separate files of evidence in relation to parliamentary expenses.

"Any decisions on whether or not there should be any charges in relation to these files will be made as quickly as is reasonably practical.

"Since a number of other cases in relation to parliamentary expenses are still under investigation, it would be inappropriate to comment any further at this stage."