Peter Skinner, jailed MEP

Former Labour MEP Peter Skinner has been ordered to repay £85,436.96 after falsely claiming more than £100,000 in expenses to spend on a car, his divorce settlement and holidays.

Peter Skinner, 56, of Snodland, Kent, was jailed for four years in 2016 after being convicted of wrongfully claiming cash from the European Parliament that should have been used to cover staff costs.In reality, some of the cash was used to buy a Land Rover Discovery for his ex-wife and pay monthly maintenance payments as part of his divorce settlement. He also spent thousands on his honeymoon to Hawaii with his second wife.

Skinner was jailed by Southwark Crown Court in April 2016, after being found guilty of fraud, false accounting and making a false instrument and jailed. The total lost to the European Parliament was £132,434.02 between 2004 and 2009.

A five-day confiscation hearing was held at Southwark Crown Court in October last year, with Mrs Justice McGowan’s written ruling handed down on Friday. She issued an £85,436.96 confiscation order under the Proceeds of Crime Act to be paid within three months or serve another year in prison in default. Skinner was also ordered to pay £10,000 in confiscation costs and £50,000 in prosecution costs and was given six months to pay.

Detective Inspector Annie Clayton said in a statement: “Peter Skinner served as an MEP for 20 years and badly let down those who supported and trusted him throughout his time in office. “The abuse of his position to enhance his own lifestyle resulted in a prison sentence and now a confiscation order to the value of £85,436.96. This should send a message to offenders that once they have been sentenced we will continue to investigate to recover any financial gain they have made from their activities and to reimburse victims where appropriate.

Rachele Moltrasio

La bella strega

The spelling Rachele might tell you I'm not British, but Italian by birth. I've lived in the UK for 18 of my 37 years, first as a child and then again for the past couple of years. I'd say I'm probably more British than Italian until you annoy me.

I've spent most of my life working in design, one way or another, including working for the most famous name in writing pens in Europe. But alongside my work, I've always had a passion for writing and languages. Life's not perfect, but it brings us goodish times....