‘ Em­bez­zled cash’ spent by ex- SNP MP on Spain trip and rent short­fall

The Scotsman - - NEWS DIGEST - By LUCINDA CAMERON news­[email protected] scots­man. com

A for­mer SNP MP owed thou­sands of pounds in rent when she em­bez­zled money from pro- independen­ce groups, a court has heard.

Natalie Mcgarry spent money she em­bez­zled – more than £ 25,600 – on rent, a hol­i­day to Spain with her hus­band, trans­fers of money to him and other life­style spend­ing, Glas­gow Sher­iff Court was told.

Mcgarry, 37, pleaded guilty to two charges of em­bez­zle­ment when she ap­peared at the court on 24 April.

Her at­tempt to with­draw the guilty pleas at a later hear­ing was re­fused by Sher­iff Paul Crozier. How­ever, her lawyer Al­lan Ma­cleod said there were sev­eral “fac­tual in­ac­cu­ra­cies” in the nar­ra­tive read to the court yes­ter­day.

Mcgarry em­bez­zled £ 21,000 from Women for Independen­ce ( WFI) in her role as trea­surer of the or­gan­i­sa­tion.

S h e t r a n s f e r r e d mone y raised through fundrais­ing events into her per­sonal bank ac­counts.

Mcgarry also 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.

Fis­cal de­pute Ger­ard Dru­gan told the court that be­tween 2012 and Au­gust 2013, Mcgarry was £ 3,750 be­hind in rent ar­rears and in Septem­ber 2013 she was asked to pay £ 1,000 a month un­til the rent was re­paid in full.

Mr Dru­gan said: “Ms Mcgarry con­tin­ued to have money prob­lems and i n Fe­bruar y 2014 she met Humza Yousaf [ now jus­tice sec­re­tar y] and told him she had been un­able to pay her rent.

“He trans­ferred £ 600 from his bank ac­count t o hers, which she later re­paid.”

The court heard Mcgarry gave her bank de­tails for the Our Voice crowd­fund­ing ini­tia­tive, which raised £ 10,472.

That money was de­posited into her bank ac­count in April 2014 and was spent by early June – some of it le­git­i­mately and some of it for rent and other life­style spend­ing. The court also heard £ 750 raised for Perth and Kin­ross food bank, which would have pro­vided food for 30 fam­i­lies, never reached the or­gan­i­sa­tion.

Mcgarry used some of the money she had em­bez­zled to go on a week- long hol­i­day to Spain with her hus­band that was paid for with his Bar­clay­card, on t o which she had trans­ferred some WFI money.

The for­mer MP, who rep­re­sented Glas­gow East and did not seek re- election in 2017, a l s o used c heques drawn on the WFI bank ac­count to de­posit money into her own ac­count.

Mc­gar r y a l s o a d mi t t e d 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.

Mr Ma­cleod, rep­re­sent­ing Mcgarry, said: “The ac­cused’s po­si­tion is still and re­mains that she did not com­mit th­ese crimes.”

0 Natalie Mcgarry pled guilty to two charges of em­bez­zle­ment but later tried to with­draw the plea

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