Former MEP must repay £345,000 expenses
Former Tory MEP Den Dover, who was expelled from the Conservative Party over allegations of expenses misconduct, has been ordered by the European Court of Justice to repay £345,289 in "unjustified" claims.
Mr Dover, 72, an MEP for the North West England region from 1999 to 2009, was suspended and then expelled from the party in November 2008 for "gross misconduct" after the Parliament demanded repayment of £538,000 in allowances officials said should not have been claimed.
He stood down at the 2009 European elections and launched an appeal in the European Court against the decision by European Parliament administrators to seek the return of the cash.
Today the Luxembourg judges found that he should pay back part of the amount - but said the European Parliament had not sufficiently demonstrated that the rest was unjustified.
The MEP has denied any wrongdoing over expenses he claimed between 1999 and 2008, when a total of £959,446 went to a company called MP Holdings Ltd, which names Mr Dover's wife and daughter as directors.
The money came from allowances MEPs receive to pay the salaries and costs of an MEP's staff.
In 2008 the Parliament's secretary-general raised questions about a possible conflict of interest and asked for full details of the use of parliamentary funds claimed by Mr Dover.
A ruling followed that only £421,156 could be justified in salaries, national insurance and legitimate staff travel expenses.
The rest was "without justification" said the Parliament, and it asked for the balance of £538,290 back.
Mr Dover told the court it was up to the Parliament to prove that the payments were unjustified, pointing out in court submissions that "the requirement to provide documentation justifying each item of expenditure since 1999 did not exist when the relevant expenses were incurred".
He said the European Parliament was aware that his wife and daughter held managerial positions in MP Holdings, and claimed that it has never "implemented a transparent system setting out clear preconditions for reimbursement of parliamentary assistance expenditure or required Members to produce documentary evidence of their parliamentary assistance expenditure".
According to European Court documents, the sums "unduly paid" to Mr Dover included:
:: £101,068 for three cars;
:: £100,735 for rent and renovation costs for Mr Dover's office - part of his home;
:: £89,235 for postage and stationery;
:: £20,767 for telephone costs;
:: £17,880 for entertainment expenses;
:: £15,404 for office supplies and equipment.
- 2 Tom Cruise: Reporters banned from asking actor about Scientology
- 4 Dutch King Willem-Alexander declares the end of the welfare state
- 5 Giant Minion terrorises drivers in Ireland as 40ft inflatable blocks traffic on Dublin road
Edward Heath 'raped 12 year-old boy at Mayfair flat'
Sabrina Corgatelli: US hunting tourist posts picture of herself with dead giraffe after Cecil the lion outrage
'Gene drive': Scientists sound alarm over supercharged GM organisms which could spread in the wild and cause environmental disasters
Labour leadership race: Jeremy Corbyn could be the next Prime Minister, says Ken Clarke
Tom Cruise: Reporters banned from asking actor about Scientology
Is Britain really full up? Are migrants taking our jobs? Leading academic answers the most common anti-immigration claims
Calais Migrant Crisis: Deputy Mayor of Calais labels Cameron's use of 'swarm' as 'racist' and 'ignorant'
Chris Leslie: Jeremy Corbyn's anti-austerity agenda will harm the poor, says Labour shadow Chancellor
Landlords renting properties to illegal immigrants to face up to five years in prison
While we fixate on Calais, the Home Office is quietly deporting dozens of migrants on 'ghost flights'
Calais crisis: The seven claims made about the migrants - and the reality
£18000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£16000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Their research appears at the f...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment C...
£18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This exciting startup disruptin...