Former West Midlands MEP Nikki Sinclaire is set to appear in court accused of making false expenses claims and money laundering following a lengthy police investigation.
Ms Sinclaire is due to appear at Birmingham Magistrates Court on 17 September to face allegations that she made false and dishonest submissions for travelling expenses and transferred the proceeds of fraud through a bank account in her name.
The offences are alleged to have taken place between October 2009 and July 2010 when Ms Sinclaire was a serving Member of the European Parliament.
The 45-year-old, of Velsheda Road, Shirley, was originally arrested on in February 2012 and has since been on police bail. Three other members of the public were also arrested but will face no further action.
Throughout the investigation West Midlands Police has been working jointly with officers from the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF).
Simon Orme, lawyer with the Crown Prosecution Service special crime division, said: “The CPS has authorised West Midlands Police to charge Ms Nicole Sinclaire, former MEP for the West Midlands, with the offences of money laundering and misconduct in public office.
“It is alleged that between October 2009 and July 2010, whilst serving as an MEP, Ms Sinclaire used funds paid into her bank account by the European Parliament in respect of false travelling expenses claims.
“Ms Sinclaire has also been charged with Misconduct in a Public Office with regard to her actions.
“The decision to prosecute was taken in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors. We have determined that there is a realistic prospect of conviction and that a prosecution is in the public interest.
“Criminal proceedings have now commenced and Ms Sinclaire has the right to a fair trial. It is extremely important that there should be no reporting, commentary or sharing of information online which could in any way prejudice these proceedings.”
The ex-MEP lost her seat in the May elections for the European parliament.
Ms Sinclaire has claimed that police have not questioned her during a two-and-a-half year probe into allegations of money laundering and misconduct in public office.
The Crown Prosecution Service confirmed today that the former UKIP politician would be facing charges relating to the claiming of travel expenses while she was serving in the European parliament. She lost her seat during the elections in May.
Sinclaire, pledged to fight the charges.
She said: “‘I am disappointed that the police have chosen to charge me with the above offences without questioning me on them, after a two-and-a-half-year investigation.
“The charges relate to my time as a UKIP MEP when I was under the guidance and oversight by the party in the Parliament. This will prove pivotal in resolving the matter.
“‘During my time as an MEP I put in more than £120,000 of my salary into the cost of my work activities.
“‘It was also me, who in 2010, drew the attention of the West Midlands Police, to irregularities I discovered had taken place, without my knowledge, in my UKIP office.
“‘I strongly refute these charges and will be firmly defending myself. I am certain I shall be found innocent of these ludicrous and unfounded accusations.”