Ex-Ukip MEP guilty of huge fraud
A former Ukip MEP has been found guilty of fraudulently claiming almost £500,000 in European Parliament expenses.
A jury at London's Southwark Crown Court took an hour and 42 minutes to find Ashley Mote, 79, guilty of 12 fraud-related offences and of using the gains to fund his court battles in the UK.
Mote, of Binsted, 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 offences took place between November 2004 and July 2010.
Releasing Mote on conditional bail, Mr Justice Stuart Smith said: "He must appreciate that there is a very strong likelihood that a custodial sentence will follow."
The judge said he was not concerned about the "relatively short time" it took the jury to reach its decisions.
He said: "I have watched you over the four weeks (of the trial) and you have been giving this close attention."
A date for sentencing has yet to be set.
The prosecution claimed that Mote submitted numerous false claims for parliamentary assistance allowance for payment for work that organisations had carried out on his behalf.
The prosecution also claimed that he dishonestly obtained approximately 355,000 euros and £184,000 of allowances to which he was not entitled.
Between 2004, when he was elected MEP, and 2009, Mote claimed a total of £750,000 in parliamentary assistance allowance - taking into account his legitimate claims and any alleged fraudulent activity.
Mote was elected as a Ukip MEP for south east England in 2004, but shortly before he took up his seat 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.