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Former Labour Lawmaker Chaytor Pleads Guilty to Fraud

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Dec. 3 (Bloomberg) -- Former Labour party lawmaker David Chaytor pleaded guilty to fraudulent expenses while serving in the U.K. Parliament, becoming the first politician to be convicted in the 18 month-old scandal over reimbursements.

Chaytor, 61, admitted guilt at a hearing at the Old Bailey Criminal Court in London today, and will be sentenced Jan. 7, a court official said. He previously denied the charges and his trial had been scheduled for later this month.

Chaytor was charged with three counts of false accounting according to the indictment. He was accused of improperly claiming: 1,950 pounds ($3,060) for information-technology services in May 2006 using false invoices; 12,925 pounds for renting a property he owned in London between September 2005 and September 2006; and 5,425 pounds purportedly for renting a property from his mother.

“David Chaytor has today admitted his dishonesty and he will now face the consequences,” Simon Clements, the head of the Crown Prosecution Service Special Crime Division, said in an e-mailed statement. “No one, no matter their position, should be allowed to take money that they know they have no right to.”

A series of stories about lawmaker expenses started appearing in the Daily Telegraph newspaper last year, after it bought a computer disc containing details of the claims. The stories revealed lawmakers made expense claims for items ranging from a floating house for ducks to the cost of clearing a moat. Many lawmakers caught up in the scandal didn’t seek re-election this year.

Three other lawmakers face trial over their expenses in the next few weeks.

Gerald Shamash, a lawyer for Chaytor, didn’t return a call seeking comment.

To contact the reporter on this story: James Lumley in London at jlumley1@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at aaarons@bloomberg.net.

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