As this blog exclusively revealed yesterday, UKIP is facing – on top of proven charges of fraud of €450,000 and a demand to pay back at least €170,000 – an EU/OLAF investigation relating to alleged fraud of over €20 million, along with the even graver matter of distributing images of child abuse.
It was covered in the media just before Christmas, but seemingly not much noticed, that Nigel Farage’s former office manager and UKIP media co-ordinator – who has been held in Phoenix, Arizona since July on charges of fraud – has accepted a ‘plea bargain’ in which he would escape 20 charges of fraud and money-laundering and plead guilty on just one.
George Cottrell, pictured above with his former boss, tried to sell money-laundering services to undercover US federal agents that he believed were drug-dealers. As part of his plea-agreement, he told a US court:
Rather than launder any of the money, though … I intended to retain the money.
Oh, well, that’s alright then. Cottrell also admitted that he
explained various ways criminal proceeds could be laundered
He also, laughably, tried to blackmail the ‘drug dealers’, threatening to report them to the authorities unless they paid him around $80,000 in bitcoin – after having already ‘conned’ them out of $20,000. He has been denied bail pending sentencing, on the grounds that he is a flight risk.
You can easily see how Mr Cottrell would fit in with a party that is already proven to have misappropriated 450,000 euros and is alleged to have stolen much more – and that misled millions with promises of extra cash for the NHS if the UK left the EU.
And you might also wonder where he learned ‘various ways criminal proceeds could be laundered’.