Source AP ©

MEP sentenced to jail can keep his seat, salary

Despite being sentenced to nine months in prison on fraud charges a far-right British member of the European Parliament can keep his seat and will continue to receive his salary.

Ashley Mote, a former member of the UK Independence Party, was convicted at Portsmouth Crown Court of falsely claiming benefits totaling more than 65,000 pounds (EUR96,000; US$ 131,000) from 1996-2002 when he failed to declare income. He was found guilty of 21 fraud-related offences.

But Mote can keep his 56,000 pounds (EUR83,000; US$112,500) a year salary and additional benefits owing to British electoral law because his jail term does not exceed 12 months, said Clive Page of the UKIP party.

Mote, 71, was elected to the European Parliament for a district in southeastern England on a UKIP ticket in 2004 but was kicked out of the party after it discovered the charges he faced.

In January, Mote joined the Identity, Sovereignty and Tradition parliamentary group which brings together some big names from the far right of European politics, including French presidential candidate Jean-Marie Le Pen and Alessandra Mussolini, granddaughter of the Italy's wartime Fascist dictator.

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