A Tory peer accused of fiddling his House of Lords expenses was on a plane to India when he claimed for overnight accommodation in London, a court has been told.
Lord Hanningfield, who is being tried under his name Paul White, made various claims for accommodation expenses incurred after performing his duties in the House of Lords between March 2006 and April 2009 but he did not stay at hotels in the capital, Chelmsford Crown Court heard.
The former leader of Essex County Council would claim for hotel costs but travel back to his home in West Hanningfield, near Chelmsford, Essex, said prosecutor Clare Montgomery QC.
She said: "We will call evidence to establish that each one of Lord Hanningfield's claims for night subsistence was false.
"He never stayed overnight in London at any stage during the period in the charges.
"On the vast majority of nights he went home to Hanningfield. On the few occasions he did not, he was not in London. He was variously on an airplane bound for India or at hotels outside London all paid for by someone else, mainly Essex County Council."
Miss Montgomery suggested that, on some occasions, White would make false claims for travelling expenses to mask dishonest claims for overnight subsistence.
She told jurors: "You will need to consider whether the false travel claims were deliberately designed by Lord Hanningfield to hide the fact that he returned home to Hanningfield every night, normally by car.
"Was this because Lord Hanningfield knew that if he had accurately reported his journey home, it would have been obvious that he was not entitled to be paid overnight subsistence since he would not have had, or needed to have, any overnight accommodation in London?"
The 70-year-old denies six counts of false accounting.