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Archive for August, 2007

Ashley MOTE MEP Trial – A UKIP Summary

Posted by Greg Lance - Watkins (Greg_L-W) on 17/08/2007

Ashley MOTE MEP Trial – A UKIP Summary
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Ashley MOTE MEP Trial – A UKIP Summary!

Nigel Farage instructed staff, paid for by UKIP to sit in court to ensure control of the subsequent publicity.

Yet he took absolutely no meaningfull action when Tom Wise was being investigated for outright fraud and embezzlement whilst in office, aided by the Tory Lindsey Jenkins!

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Hi,
at The Palace of Westminster
appending the signatures of the 25 Barons,
directly descended from those who signed The Magna Carta,
to the petition of S.A.Ni.Ty.
of The Magna Carta Society
L > R
Ashley MOTE, Malcolm WOOD
Barry Lord ASHDOWN
Greg LANCE-WATKINS

COURT COVERAGE OPINION D.S-C.

you should note in reading this that David Samuel-Camps (Nigel Farage’s constituency office manager) was salaried by UKIP to attend the case from Nigel Farage’s personal office and write a suitable report.

You may also wish to note that Nigel Farage had turned the trial of Ashley Mote, for an offence long prior to his joining UKIP, into an apparently personal vendetta.

Crown v Ashley Mote

(16 July – 17 August 2007)
A Summary

To the best of our knowledge and belief the following has been written,
on the basis that it is a fair, accurate and impartial account of the
proceedings, in front of a jury, as instructed by His Honour Judge Price.
In a trial that lasted for four weeks Ashley Mote faced twenty-five indictments.
Nine related to False Accounting; nine for Obtaining Money Transfers by
Deception; one for Failure to Notify Change of Circumstances; six for Evasion
of Liability by Deception (this refers to Council Tax, but did not involve Mote
receiving monies).
The case revolved around claims for Income Support, Housing Benefit and
evasion of liability of Council Tax from 1996 to 2002, whilst he was in receipt
of personal income, which he failed to declare to the Benefits Agency as
required by law.
Chichester District Council Housing Benefits department and the Department
of Work and Pensions (DWP) alleged that he had received £73,000 in
benefits to which he was not entitled, during that period.
The prosecution called a number of officials from the Housing Benefits
department to explain how the benefit system works. Prior to the trial, the
defence said it would accept their evidence, but would raise some queries.
The defence asked some of these witnesses’ questions on interpretation of
what constitutes ‘income’. (The point here was that regardless of whether the
‘income’ was subject to income tax, any income should have been declared in
order that an entitlement to benefits can be correctly assessed).
Both sides employed forensic accountants and they produced agreed
schedules that were accepted by the defence and prosecution. It had also
been agreed that only one of the accountants needed to give evidence.
The prosecution mounted a very strong case and proved that Mote was a
director of a number of companies, two of which he initially denied having any
dealings with.
They also revealed that during the six years he was on benefits he received
over £10,500 as a tax-free lump sum from a private pension plan, along with
annual payments of £991 before tax. He failed to declare this to the agency,
as required on the A1 and A2 benefits forms. He used part of the lump sum
to take a holiday in Barbados and to pay off some debts – again whilst still
claiming Income Support and Housing Benefit.
He also failed to declare that he was a company director. In an interview with
the DWP in 2001 he denied having any involvement with a company called
Tanner Management saying that his dealings with that company were few and
years ago, when in fact he was the director of the company. In a second
interview in March ’02 he refused to answer questions regarding Tanner
Management and in a third interview he answered “No comment” to all
questions – on legal advice.
He did not reveal to the agency that he had deposited £5000 with a financial
broker in 1993 for use in “spread betting” on the currency markets.
1
This “gambling” as it was referred to in court, brought in a substantial amount
of money over the six-year period, which he again failed to declare to the
Benefits Agency as income. His defence was that, as he did not have to
declare these “winnings” to the Inland Revenue he did not have to inform the
Benefits Agency. This despite the fact that the claims form specifically asks if
the claimant has “any other monies coming in”.
Suspicions were raised by Chichester District Council’s Housing Benefit office
when they discovered that the rent for his accommodation at Langley Court
East was greater than the amount of Housing Benefit he was receiving and
they began investigating how he was making up the difference.
They discovered that the rent for his flat was paid through a company called
Caravelle Investments Ltd and had a letter from that company stating that
they were the landlords, when in fact the landlord was an individual – Mr
James Low. Mr Low was shown the letter from Caravelle just prior to the trial
and was dismayed at its content. He had never heard of Caravelle before
and stated in evidence that his family owned the property – not Caravelle Ltd.
Also on the letter was a reference to OSS.
Mote became involved with a cleaning company in 1996, which was owned by
his wife’s cousin Miss Rance. They set up a limited company with Mote as
the company secretary. It was decided that she and Mote would have the
same “drawings” from the company; that she would look after the physical
side of business whilst Mote took care of the administration and accounts.
Each month Mote would contact Miss Rance to tell her how much she could
withdraw from the company account for herself and to cover employees’
wages. She made separate claims for ‘consumable’ expenses, such as
cleaning fluids etc. It was also agreed that the company should take out loans
to purchase cars for Mote and herself. She re-paid the loan from her own
salary, whilst Mote paid for it through his Tanner Management account. This
was shown on the company accounts as payments to Tanner Management
Ltd. Miss Rance was asked if her company had any dealings with Tanner
Management and she answered, “No, there was no reason for (the cleaning
company) to have dealings with it”
Miss Rance became worried when Mote would not tell her how much he was
drawing from the company and when she queried this with him at a meeting in
a hotel lobby, as his drawings did not appear in the company accounts, he
said that it was because “it was done in a another way”. Miss Rance then
sought advice from her own accountant who asked to her to obtain the
account books. She was invited to Langley Court and was told she could look
at the books but could not take them away – Mote had left a note to that
effect, which was produced in evidence.
Asked about credit card payments that appeared on the accounts she stated
that the company did not have any credit cards, especially an American
Express card. Asked about other payments she said she had no idea as to
what they were for or who the people were that the payments were made to.
Asked whether her company had an office, she said “No” and said that she
worked from home and she assumed that Mote did too.
However, in the accounts was an item for office rent. The prosecution asked
Miss Rance if she had trusted Mote. “Yes of course I did” she replied, “he was
family for God’s sake!”
2
It was later clarified that Mote had two credit cards and an Amex card for
personal use and was using monies from the company’s account to make
credit card payments, via his Tanner Management Ltd bank account. Miss
Rance said in evidence that £30,000 had “disappeared” from her company’s
account.
After a forensic account analysis of Mote’s bank statements, cheque stubs,
paying-in books etc, the prosecution were informed that Mote had spent over
£150,000 for the six-year period 1996-2002 whilst still claiming Income
Support, Housing Benefit and Council Tax relief.
Much of Mote’s financial dealings were done through Tanner Management
Ltd. The prosecution proved that far from only having a few dealings with the
company some years ago, “Tanner Management Ltd was Ashley Mote and
Ashley Mote was Tanner Management Ltd, all the family knew that” said Miss
Rance, and that he had “lied” about this connection. Originally registered in
the Isle of Man the company was under the control of Mote who moved the
company address to a PO Box in Petersfield and rented office space in the
name of Tanner Management in same town, just six miles from where he
lived. The office rent of £235 per month was paid through the cleaning
company’s account.
Written evidence was submitted by the prosecution from various bank
officials, confirming that documents submitted by them were true and
accurate.
DWP investigators gave evidence regarding the interviews they had had with
Mote in late 2001 and 2002, and a summary of the investigations they had
undertaken.
“Agreed Facts”, with regard to benefit claims to a total of £73,041, were
submitted and accepted along with bank and credit card accounts in Mote’s
name.
On the 6th August Mote took the stand in his own defence.
He began by giving details of his working background culminating in him
setting up a company called Q International in the late ‘70s – early ‘80s. It
was a management consultancy with a staff of 30 people and offices in the
USA, Australia and the UK. He explained that the company had dealings with
multi-national corporations and was a thriving business. During this time he
met an American called Jack Tanner in Houston and because of mutual
interests, decided to set up an international property company. The company
was registered in Delaware USA and the Isle of Man as Tanner
Management,. Asked the reason for this he said it was to take advantage of
the tax regimes in those places, which was normal business practice. It was
later incorporated as a limited company
In 1989 Q International failed due to “Black Wednesday” when Britain crashed
out of the ERM. Mote was faced with financial ruin and was forced to sell his
house in order to pay off an overdraft and other creditors. He tried to find
employment during 1991 – 93 but it was “hopeless”. He then applied for
benefits but was advised that as he had been self-employed he would be
better off trying to set up another business. Asked how he had managed
financially during this period, he said “increasing debt and support from
3
friends”. He then worked abroad until 1996 until the work dried up and he
returned to the UK to look for further employment, but eventually ended up
claiming benefits.
As he had reached the age of sixty by 1996 he was now entitled to Income
Support and was not expected to be actively seeking employment.
He confirmed that all the signatures on the claims forms were his. Asked
about Caravelle Ltd he confirmed that signatures on letters from the company
were Jack Tanner’s. Asked why Caravelle was named as his landlord he said
that it was because Jack Tanner had guaranteed the rent, should there be a
shortfall if Mote was in financial difficulties, although he agreed Mr James Low
was in fact the actual landlord.
With regard to the spread betting he said he deposited £5000 with GNI
Financial Brokers in the early 1990’s, which set him up with an account with
Overseas Sterling Services (OSS). The defence then took him through the
Income Support and Housing Benefit forms to confirm that they were correct.
He was asked about cheques that he had written, but the judge did not follow
his explanation. Mote gave reasons for the cheques but did not remember
some of them as he suffered from a bad memory, a point that was raised a
few times during his evidence and cross-examination.
Asked what effect he believed his 65th birthday had had on his Income
Support he said he had missed the fact that his state pension was “topped up”
with Income Support and it did not cross his mind that he was still on benefits,
despite a letter from the Agency detailing his state pension and Income
Support entitlements.
In anticipation of a private pension transfer of £10,600 he took a holiday in
Barbados in September 2001. He said he used the balance to pay off some
debts.
He was then asked about his interviews with the DWP. In the first interview in
November 2001 he provided them with bank statements and other
information, all of which were “edited” by him. Asked why they were edited he
said that they contained personal material that was not relevant. His next
interview was in March 2002 where he read a prepared statement and
refused to answer questions regarding Tanner Management Ltd, although his
legal representative had been notified of the questions beforehand. His
Income support was stopped on 20th September 2002. He attended a third
interview on 6th November 2002 but answered all questions with “No
comment”.
The defence then asked about payments into his Abbey National account,
which Mote explained was to facilitate his benefit payments. Three character
witnesses were called to give verbal evidence along with a written statement.
Only one of the verbal witnesses was cross-examined.
Under cross-examination Mote was asked about Caravelle Investments Ltd
and OSS. Mote said that OSS was the codeword for his account with the
financial brokers, but eventually he admitted that OSS Ltd was a company
that he had set up, through his original company that crashed in 1989, and
both shared the same address as that of Tanner Management in the Isle of
Man.
4
In the forensic analysis a company called Cater Allen was mentioned. The
company is a private bank and Mote initially denied that he had an account
with them. The following day it was revealed that he had lied, as monies from
his spread betting went through that account to another of his bank accounts,
Abbey International, which Mote had also denied having any knowledge but
during the period between July 98 and September 2002 there were 5
payments of £750 and one of £1500, none of which were declared to the
Benefits Agency. Again, all this whilst he was still on benefits.
The prosecution asked for authority to obtain bank statements from Cater
Allen and Abbey International for the whole period, but Mote refused, only
allowing them access to the bank statements for 2002.
He was then asked about his mortgage application in 2004. Whilst the
prosecution acknowledged that it was outside the 1996-2002 period, they
drew attention to the fact that Mrs Mote had stated on the application form
that she had been employed by a company called ODI Services as company
secretary since 1999 on an annual salary of £12,000 plus dividends. This had
not been declared on the Income Support, Housing Benefit forms as “any
other monies coming in?” The letter from ODI Services to the mortgage
lenders confirming her employment and salary was produced in evidence,
signed by the managing director, Barnaby Mote, their son. It emerged that
the salary payments and dividends paid to Mrs Mote were then ‘gifted’ back to
Barnaby Mote. Ashley Mote stated in evidence that he no knowledge of these
arrangements.
Part way through Mote’s evidence Barnaby Mote was “interposed”, despite
objections from the prosecution. He was questioned on salary payments and
dividends to his mother and agreed that the monies had been “gifted” back to
him in order that he would not be liable for a higher rate of income tax. When
contacted by Chichester Housing Benefit office regarding Mrs Mote’s income
he sought legal and accounting advice and paid off the income tax.
On further cross-examination Ashley Mote was asked about a company called
Franklin Wines. He explained that it was an Australian company that was
trying to break into the UK wine market and that he had been asked by the
company for advice on how to go about it. The company paid him various
amounts, from £1,000 to £3,000 during the period from October to December
2002, which he considered to be expenses. It then transpired that Mote had
become a director of the company – none of which was declared to the
Benefits Agency.
The prosecution then made its closing argument and accused Mote of
“dishonesty” and “lying”; of facilitating his “lifestyle” which included bills for
restaurants, trips abroad and club membership fees.
This was done through his credit cards, which were then paid for by money
from his spread betting, money from the cleaning company and other
business activities, which he repeatedly maintained were business expenses
rather than income.
The defence’s argument was that here was a man who had been devastated
by the collapse of his successful company in the ERM crash of 1989, lost his
house and who had made every effort to find work, up until 1996.
5
Faced with the prospect of claiming benefits he had said that he did not
understand the benefit system and the consequent form filling. The defence
explained that Mote suffered from memory loss and was unable to mount a
proper defence as he had destroyed a lot of documents, due to lack of space,
following his move from Langley Court to a small flat and his MEP
commitments.
In his summing up the judge spent a great deal of time explaining the
indictments and the witness evidence. After deliberating for 10½ hours, the
jury were recalled and asked if they had reached verdicts on any of the
indictments. They were then taken through each of the indictments, 17 of
which they all agreed on as guilty, 3 not guilty and 5 undecided. They retired
again and came back with verdicts on the 5 undecided indictments – 4 guilty
and one not guilty – giving a total of 21 verdicts of guilty and 4 not guilty.
The judge thanked the jury in the usual manner and told them that they could
stay on to hear the rest of that day’s proceedings. One juror left. The judge
then told Mote that he faced a custodial sentence and that he was setting bail
at £50,000. He told him that he had to surrender his passport and not to
leave England and Wales. On being informed by the defence that Mote had
an EU diplomatic passport as well, which was the property of the EU
parliament and therefore could not be surrendered, the judge demanded its
surrender immediately on the basis that he was the judge in this court, not the
EU.
He said that Mote had piled “deceit upon deceit”, that he was “not
understanding the reality” and of “not understanding the position he was in”.
The judge had real concerns regarding Mote’s true financial position and
assets.
(After sureties had been given for bail, the case was adjourned for reports.
Sentencing was eventually set for the 4th September.)
4th September 2007
After pleas for mitigation from defence counsel, Judge Richard Price said the
following:
“Between 1996 and 2002 you made a series of claims for income support,
council tax and housing benefit. The prosecution say they were false and
dishonest and you failed to tell the authorities of your true financial position.
The prosecution case was you had, and you knew you had, substantial other
money which you dishonestly failed to disclose.
After detailing the 21 charges of false accounting, failing to notify a change in
circumstances, obtaining money by deception and evasion of liability, of which
he was convicted and the four of which he was acquitted, Judge Price said,
“The sums involved in what were a carefully planned series of deceptions
were significant. £31,000 income support, £29,000 housing benefit and
£4,000 council tax, sums in the region of £65,000 of tax payers money
dishonestly obtained by you. You chose to dispute the allegations, you
chose to plead not guilty. That is clearly a matter for you but it deprives you of
a discount for a guilty plea.
6
“You did not help yourself in your evidence to the jury. You gave every
impression of being a thoroughly dishonest man and as cross-examination
continued it became clear that there was a great deal that you had not
disclosed including the existence of two more bank accounts. You also went
to a great deal of trouble to cover up your tracks to make it difficult for the
authorities to find out anything about you.
You opened at least one company registered in the United States of America
and used post office box addresses in the Isle of Man and latterly close to
your home. During the relevant period you were claiming this money you
were in effect receiving substantial sums of money, tens of thousands of
pounds which you kept quiet about.”
The judge said that there were two sources of money, one from the cleaning
company whilst wife received money from their son’s company, which she
declared, but Mote could not do that as he was receiving benefits.
“What you did was to claim re-imbursement of expenses which you had not
incurred so boosting your income but doing it in a thoroughly dishonest way.
The second source of income was gaming on currency. Whether that was the
source of that money or wasn’t you knew perfectly well you had to declare it.
You knew it was money you had to declare.
To say this case has ruined you is an under-statement. It is a tragedy. You
have never been in trouble and always been an extremely hard working man
who built up a successful business, which collapsed through no fault of your
own. Witnesses spoke about your tireless efforts to get back on your feet
again at an age when most people consider retirement.”
“You were after the period covered by these charges elected as a member of
the European Parliament. You campaigned vigorously to help your
constituents say people who have written testimonials.
“Nevertheless the offences of which you have been convicted can only be
visited by custodial sentences, nothing else would be appropriate. Because of
the dates spanned there is no power to suspend the sentences, there is
nothing in this case which would justify exceptional circumstances. The
Court of Appeal has said that because of prison overcrowding prison will be
more difficult to serve. I take into account your age and everything said on
your behalf.
“The appropriate sentence is nine months imprisonment on each (count), to
run concurrently.”
Mote will be serving his sentence in Winchester Prison.
Reporting by David Samuel-Camps BA (Hons) Dip PA and Miss Tina Astley
Additional reporting
Lynda RoughleyA copy of this can be found if you CLICK HERE.

ADDED LATER:
A measure of the veracity of the reporting was that the claim was Ashley Mote was to serve his sentence in HMP Winchester – he was NOT so sentenced! HMP Winchester was the clearing prison for the region of the court!

Ashley Mote was assesed and rapidly moved to Ford Open Prison where he served between 3 and 4 months befor his release.

During the time Mote was serving his sentence his constituency staff were continuing to work and in regular contact with him on behalf of his constituents in acquittal of his duties as an MEP.

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Posted by: Greg Lance-Watkins
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