Scotland politics

Former SNP MP in court over fraud claims

Natalie McGarry Image copyright Mike Gibbons/Spindrift

A former SNP MP has appeared in court charged with embezzling more than £41,500.

Natalie McGarry, who represented Glasgow East but did not seek re-election in 2017, appeared in private at Glasgow Sheriff Court.

She made no plea and was bailed pending a further court appearance.

Ms McGarry, 36, was elected as an SNP member in 2015 but resigned the party whip following the emergence of the allegations.

Prosecutors claim that she embezzled money while she was Treasurer of Women for Independence, and the Treasurer, secretary and convenor of the Glasgow Regional Association of the SNP.

She faces three charges of embezzlement, two charges under the Scottish Independence Referendum Act and a charge contrary to the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act.

'Transferred funds'

Papers from the court allege that between January 2012 and November 2015 Ms McGarry, in the course of her role as Treasurer for Women for Independence, embezzled £33,011.

It is claimed she transferred funds raised through fundraising events into her personal account, failed to transfer charitable donations to the Perth and Kinross food bank and to Positive Prison Positive Futures.

Ms McGarry is accused of using cheques, held in the name of Women for Independence, to deposit money into her own account.

It is alleged that between January 2011 and May 2016, she embezzled £4,661.

In the course of her role as treasurer, secretary and convenor of Glasgow Regional Association of the SNP, Ms McGarry is also accused of using cheques in their name and money donated through the website and intended for the use of that group, for her own use.

The third embezzlement charge totalling £3892 allegedly took place between November 2012 and June 2014.

'False expenditure claims'

Ms McGarry allegedly transferred money into her own account that was raised through an online crowdfunding campaign, which she had set up to raise money for online body "Yes Glasgow".

She also faces a charge that in December 2014 she submitted a return "purporting to be the true expenditure incurred by Women for Independence".

It is claimed she falsely stated the total referendum campaign expenditure was £24,604, knowing that it was £10,346.

A second charge under the act alleges that in December 2014 she delivered a return for referendum expenses that did not conform to the requirements.

It is claimed she falsely stated that, to the best of her knowledge and belief, it was complete and correct and the expenditure detailed had been paid by her or someone authorised by her.

Ms McGarry faces a final charge of failing to provide a passcode for a mobile phone seized from her by police in August 2016.

She is expected to return to court at a later date.