Euro MP denies fraud charges

ONE of the East of England's Euro MPs appeared in court today, accused of cheating European taxpayer out of thousands of pounds in an allowance scam.

Graham Dines

ONE of the East of England's Euro MPs appeared in court today, accused of cheating European taxpayer out of thousands of pounds in an allowance scam.

Tom Wise, 60, of Leighton Buzzard in Bedfordshire, pleaded not guilty to charges of false accounting and money laundering at City of Westminster Magistrates' Court.

The former UK Independence Party MEP, who now sits as an independent, appeared beside his former researcher Lindsay Jenkins, 62.

He is accused of claiming at least �36,000 in secretarial allowances in the 12 months until December 2005 under the guise of a salary for Ms Jenkins. It is alleged that he spent the cash on a car, fine wines and to pay off credit card and bank debts.

Mr Wise spoke only to confirm his personal details and to enter his not guilty pleas. Wearing a white, long-sleeved shirt and bright red tie, he was accompanied by his solicitor, John Warrington. s Jenkins, of Queen Club Gardens, London, who wore a black dress and pearls, also spoke only to confirm her name and to deny the offences.

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The offences are alleged to have taken place between December 14 2004 and December 24 2005. The defendants are accused of signing official documents claiming the European Parliament money would be paid into Ms Jenkins' account when it was controlled by the politician.

The second charge of money laundering alleges they then used the dishonestly-obtained cash for their own purposes.

District Judge Daphne Wickham released both defendants on conditional bail and ordered them to reappear at the same court on June 8. The prosecution follows an investigation by the European Anti-Fraud Office and officers at Bedfordshire Police's economic crime unit.

Wise was elected to the European Parliament in 2004 as one of a 12 UKIP members but is now an independent hoping to fight the next European election in June.

His Euro constituency covers Suffolk, Essex, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire,