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British politician caught embezzling £1.5 million of public money



*** A British politician from the "opposition" party has been exposed as a criminal fraudster and an embezzler of public money. Derek Conway [con by name, con by nature] used his position to divert huge sums of money into family bank accounts. His sons posed as council employees and received salaries and bonuses while they were at away studying university, while in reality they did no work for the council whatsoever blatant fraud and a deliberate deception. Any ordinary person embezzling money at work would rapidly be sacked, arrested, prosecuted in a court of law and probably sentenced to a term in prison. But Mr Conway's employers are like-minded fellow politicians. So far he has only been temporarily "suspended" and talk of a police investigation for the benefit of the media remains just empty talk. ***

The Conservative MP who paid his two sons out of parliamentary expenses while they were at university also gave them bonuses, it has emerged.

And the Daily Mail can reveal that in six years the cost to the taxpayer of Derek Conway and his family was an astonishing 1,535,716.70.

The figures came to light in leaked documents seen by the Daily Mail.

They show that the MP's wife Colette, who works legitimately as his secretary, and their sons have cost 374,401.73 in pay, bonuses and overtime since 2001.

[Photo:] Playing family fortunes: Derek Conway with wife Colette and their sons Henry and Freddie, who were all on his payroll

In the same period, Mr Conway himself has received 1.16million in salary and expenses - a figure which does not include his generous parliamentary pension.

Both Mrs Conway and the couple's sons Henry and Freddie - who the MP claimed were parliamentary researchers - received maximum bonuses of 15 per cent on more than one occasion.

Political rivals have demanded a police inquiry into the way Henry, 25, and 22-year-old Freddie Conway were paid more than 80,000 of public cash for apparently doing little work.

Henry, who once called himself 'Queen Sloane' in an interview with the BBC, threw a party at a Chelsea nightclub last November charmingly titled the "F*** off, I'm Rich" party.

The fact that Freddie was being paid as a researcher by his father while still being a full-time student at Newcastle University first came to light in his entries on the social networking website Facebook.

Freddie posted pictures of his 21st birthday party he held on the terrace of the Commons.


Yesterday Tory leader David Cameron effectively sacked the Old Bexley and Sidcup MP by withdrawing the party whip from him.

Conservative sources made clear there would be no way back for Mr Conway and that he would cease to be an MP at the next General Election.

A former anti-sleaze watchdog said it was now time for an overhaul of the entire expenses system for MPs - including the way relatives are employed.


Mr Cameron's decisive action was contrasted by Tory insiders to Gordon Brown's "dithering" over Peter Hain's undeclared donations of 103,000 for three weeks before accepting his resignation last week.


Mr Cameron is desperate to distance his party from the sleaze surrounding Labour's funding scandal.

Mr Conway was already facing a ten-day suspension after the Standards and Privileges Committee found him guilty over payments of 50,000 to Freddie, 22.

But a second investigation was triggered over Henry, 25, whose payments of more than 32,000 were revealed in the Mail yesterday.

The scandal lifted the lid on the vast expenses claims made by all 646 MPs. One in ten employs either their spouse or child as a member of staff.

Sir Alistair Graham, ex-chairman of the committee on standards in public life, called for a review of the perks system including family employees and second home allowances, which critics say is abused by a string of MPs including ministers.

He said: "There is an urgent need to clean out the stables. I argued there should be a root and branch review of MPs' expenses and allowances.

"I would hope it would be the next issue the committee on standards would look into."

Mr Conway said it was "understandable, if not inevitable" he was being ousted from the Tory Party.

Mr Cameron had suggested Mr Conway would not be excluded from the parliamentary party following a critical report into Freddie Conway by the Standards and Privileges Committee on Monday.

But Mr Cameron came under pressure to act when Labour backbencher John Mann complained to standards commissioner John Lyon about elder son Henry.

Mr Cameron said: "The usual procedure in these cases is to leave the punishment to the House of Commons authorities.

"However, having asked the Chief Whip to speak again to Mr Conway and having personally reflected overnight, I have decided to withdraw the Conservative whip from Mr Conway."

It is understood the withdrawal of the whip is complete - meaning there is no way back for the MP.

He will sit as an independent but cannot fight the next election on behalf of his Tory association, who will select a new candidate.

Mr Conway's prospective LibDem opponent called for a police investigation into payments to the MP's sons.

Duncan Borrowman said the issue was "important enough, especially in the present climate, to warrant police investigation".

A request for the names and salaries of MPs' relatives who are paid for by the taxpayer to be published was blocked by the Speaker Michael Martin in 2006.

Information Commissioner Richard Thomas had been expected to rule there were no legitimate grounds for exempting the names, requested under the Freedom of Information Act.

But Mr Martin claimed such disclosure was likely to "prejudice the effective conduct of public affairs".

Heather Brooke of anti-secrecy group Your Right To Know, which made the FoI request, said: "If MPs are to have any credibility with the public, they must disclose a full breakdown of all their expenses."


SOURCE

Daily Mail, "1.5m: The extraordinary amount Tory MP Derek Conway's family earned from the taxpayer (after bonuses)", 30 January 2008.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=511202&in_page_id=1770


FURTHER READING

Metro, "Conway slashed secretary's pay [by 50%] as he showered cash on his sons", 1 February 2008.
http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/news/article-23435203-details/Conway+slashed+secretary's+pay+as+he+showered+cash+on+his+sons/article.do
  Disgraced Tory Derek Conway halved his secretary's salary to just 7,875 while paying his sons and their friend tens of thousands in overtime and bonuses.
    Constituency secretary Lisa Rayson was told by the senior MP that he could not afford to pay her 15,000 wages because 'money was tight'.
    Yet weeks before her salary was slashed in June last year, Mr Conway gave his son Freddie a 15 per cent bonus of 1,765 - for doing virtually [in fact literally] nothing - according to documents obtained by the Daily Mail.
    And three months later, the Old Bexley and Sidcup MP gave an 11,000-a-year research assistant job to Michel Pratte, 23, close friend of his elder son Henry.
    ...

"The Insider" mailing list article, 30 January 2008.

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Tags: British, politics, corruption, Conservative MP, Derek Conway, embezzlement, fraud, embezzled, fraud, theft, police, investigation, criminal, corrupt, politicians, , conspiracy theories.

 
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