Scotland politics

Natalie McGarry: Former SNP MP embezzled £25,000 from Yes groups

Natalie McGarry Image copyright PA
Image caption The Crown will seek to recover the embezzled money from Ms McGarry

A former SNP MP has pled guilty to embezzling more than £25,600 from pro-independence organisations - including money intended for a foodbank.

Natalie McGarry, 37, admitted two charges of embezzlement when she appeared at Glasgow Sheriff Court.

She had not guilty pleas accepted to another embezzlement charge, and a charge that she refused to give police the passcode for a mobile phone.

The case has been adjourned until 1 May.

The Crown has indicated it will attempt to recover the embezzled money through the Proceeds of Crime Act.

McGarry was one of 56 SNP MPs elected to the Commons in the 2015 general election, but withdrew from the party whip when the allegations were first made against her.

She continued as an independent MP, but did not stand in the general election in 2017.

Image caption McGarry was elected as the SNP MP for Glasgow East in 2015, but did not stand two years later

She embezzled the largest amount from the Women for Independence group in her role as treasurer of the organisation, appropriating £21,000 for her own use.

McGarry transferred money raised through fundraising events into her personal bank accounts and failed to transfer charitable donations to Perth and Kinross food bank and to Positive Prison, Positive Future between 26 April 2013 and 30 November 2015.

She also used cheques drawn on the Women for Independence bank account to deposit money into her own account.

McGarry also pled guilty to embezzling £4,661.02 in the course of her role as treasurer, secretary and convener of the Glasgow Regional Association of the SNP between 9 April 2014 and 10 August 2015.

She was charged by police in 2017 over alleged fraud relating to potential missing funds from Women for Independence, which was set up in the run-up to the 2014 Scottish referendum, and Glasgow Regional Association.

She had denied all of the charges against her until pleading guilty to two of them on Wednesday afternoon. She represented herself when she appeared in court, after previously sacking her legal team.

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