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Police probe speaker fraud claims

Police have begun an official investigation into fraud allegations against the speaker of Australia's Parliament.

Australian Federal Police said in a statement that they have decided to launch a formal investigation into allegations that House of Representatives Speaker Peter Slipper misused taxi payment vouchers.

Police had been evaluating the allegations since last month.

The launch of the probe comes a week after Mr Slipper claimed to have been exonerated of the allegations by taxi payment vouchers released by a government department.

A fraud conviction could cost Mr Slipper his seat in Parliament and the government of prime minister Julia Gillard its slender majority.

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