Shamed MEP repays expenses

Den Dover
Den Dover
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Former MEP Den Dover has almost finished paying back hundreds of thousands of pounds claimed in “unjustified” expenses – but is still facing a police inquiry, the Evening Post can reveal.

The ex-North West MEP, now 74, was expelled from the Conservative party in November 2008 after an investigation was launched into money paid to a family-owned company of which his wife Kathleen and daughter Amanda were directors.

He stood down as MEP in 2009 and was ordered by the European Court to repay £345,000 of “unduly paid” expenses claims in March 2011.

Mr Dover unsuccessfully appealed against the ruling and a European Parliament spokesman confirmed he has now paid back “98 per cent” of the £345,000 specified in the order.

However, Mr Dover still faces an investigation by fraud officers at Hertfordshire Police.

Olaf, the European Anti-Fraud Office, passed the case on to the UK authorities early last year.

An Olaf spokesman said: “This case is now closed for Olaf.

“Olaf’s investigation report was sent at the beginning of 2012 to the UK police and judicial authorities for criminal follow-up, which Olaf is monitoring.”

A Hertfordshire Police spokesman added: “The matter is being investigated by Hertfordshire Police and the investigation is currently ongoing.”

Father-of-two Mr Dover, a former Chorley MP from 1979 to 1997 and then an MEP for 10 years, denied any abuse of the expenses system over payments in staff and office allowances to the Hertfordshire-based family-owned company, MP Holdings Ltd, for secretarial and parliamentary assistant work between 1999 and 2008.

However, Luxembourg judges found that he should pay back £345,289, including £100,735 in rent and renovation costs for his office, which was also part of his home, and £101,068 for three cars.

The Evening Post attempted to contact Mr Dover but he was not available for comment.

It is believed he no longer owns the semi-detached house in Euxton, near Chorley, which was once his second home.

North West Liberal Democrat MEP Chris Davies said he had been following the case and had recently received a letter from the European Parliament Secretary General, saying Mr Dover was expected to repay money owed by the end of the first quarter of 2013.

Mr Davies added: “The (expenses) system has been so much improved. It was outrageous the system that existed at the time I was first elected.

“Changes are already in place and they get tighter all the time.”