London: Former British minister Dennis MacShane was today jailed for six months for expenses fraud after admitting that he submitted 19 fake receipts amounting to 12,900 pounds.

He became the fifth MP to get a prison sentence since the expenses scandal came to light in 2009.
The 65-year-old was a Labour MP for 18 years and served as Europe Minister during 2002-05 in former premier Tony Blair’s cabinet.

Justice Sweeney ruled that MacShane had “deliberately created misleading and deceptive invoices” with considerable dishonesty involved.

MacShane must serve at least half his sentence and he was ordered to pay costs of 1,500 pounds within two months.

“However chaotic your general paperwork was, there was deliberate, oft-repeated and prolonged dishonesty over a period of years – involving a flagrant breach of trust and consequent damage to parliament, with correspondingly reduced confidence in our priceless democratic system…,” the judge said.

Parliamentary authorities began looking at MacShane’s claims in 2009 when the wider scandal engulfed Westminster, and referred him to Scotland Yard within months.

But the principle of parliamentary privilege meant detectives were not given access to damning correspondence with the standards commissioner in which MacShane detailed how signatures on receipts from the European Policy Institute (EPI) had been faked.

The body was controlled by MacShane and the general manager’s signature was not genuine.

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