For­mer SNP MP admits em­bez­zling £26,000

Evening Times - - FRONT PAGE - BY TOM TORRANCE

A FOR­MER SNP MP has ad­mit­ted em­bez­zling more than £25,600 from pro-in­de­pen­dence or­gan­i­sa­tions.

Natalie McGarry, 37, faced three charges of em­bez­zle­ment and a charge that she re­fused to give po­lice the pass­code for a mo­bile phone they had seized.

McGarry, who represente­d Glas­gow East but did not seek re-elec­tion in 2017, ad­mit­ted two of the charges when she ap­peared at Glas­gow Sher­iff Court yes­ter­day and the Crown ac­cepted not guilty pleas to the other two.

She em­bez­zled £21,000 from Women for In­de­pen­dence in her role as treasurer of the or­gan­i­sa­tion.

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

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

McGarry also ad­mit­ted em­bez­zling £4661.02 in the course of her role as

[email protected] evening­times. co.uk treasurer, sec­re­tary and con­vener of the Glas­gow Re­gional As­so­ci­a­tion of the SNP between April 9, 2014 and Au­gust 10, 2015.

She was elected as an SNP mem­ber in 2015 but re­signed the party whip fol­low­ing the emer­gence of fraud al­le­ga­tions – which she de­nied at the time – con­tin­u­ing in Par­lia­ment as an in­de­pen­dent.

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 the SNP’s Glas­gow Re­gional As­so­ci­a­tion.

McGarry represente­d her­self when she ap­peared at court yes­ter­day.

The case was ad­journed un­til May 1.

Born and brought up in In­verkei­thing, Fife, Natalie McGarry stud­ied law at Aberdeen Univer­sity be­fore work­ing in HR, as a community of­fi­cer for un­em­ployed par­ents and as a pol­icy ad­viser in the vol­un­tary sec­tor.

She rose to promi­nence po­lit­i­cally after help­ing set up Women for In­de­pen­dence in 2012, an or­gan­i­sa­tion which aimed to rep­re­sent women’s voices and in­ter­ests in the campaign for Scot­tish in­de­pen­dence.

She con­tested the 2014 Cow­den­beath Holy­rood by-elec­tion for the SNP, held fol­low­ing the death of sit­ting Labour MSP He­len Eadie.

McGarry lost out to Alex Row­ley, who held the seat for Labour with a ma­jor­ity of 5,488.

The fol­low­ing year she was elected as an SNP MP rep­re­sent­ing Glas­gow East, and she was ap­pointed the party’s West­min­ster spokes­woman for dis­abil­i­ties, a post she held for seven months.

She caused a stir in the House of Com­mons by vot­ing in her wedding dress, having just had her mar­riage to Glas­gow Con­ser­va­tive coun­cil­lor David Meikle blessed in the Par­lia­ment’s St Mary Un­der­croft chapel.

Natalie McGarry ap­peared at Glas­gow Sher­iff Court

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