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Trial of ex-Ukip MEP set to start

The trial of a former Ukip MEP accused of fraudulently claiming tens of thousands of pounds in parliamentary assistance allowance is due to start today.

Ashley Mote, 79, denies a string of fraud-related offences including forgery and obtaining a money transfer by deception.

A jury has been sworn in at London's Southwark Crown Court to try him on a total of 12 offences alleged to have taken place between November 2004 and July 2010.

Prosecutor Jonathan Davies is due to open the case, expected to last four weeks, this afternoon.

One charge states that Mote dishonestly obtained money transfers to the value of £97,531.42 by falsely representing that he was able to claim secretarial or parliamentary assistance allowance for that amount in accordance with the rules of the European Parliament.

Mote, from Binsted, Hampshire, denies 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 forgery.

Mr Justice Stuart-Smith has granted the defendant bail for the duration of the trial.

The defendant was initially elected as an MEP for Ukip but was kicked out of the party days after the 2004 election, and was an independent until he decided not to stand for election in 2009.

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