Bangladesh-origin Labour MP Apsana Begum charged with housing fraud

Desk Report: A British parliamentarian with Bangladesh originhas been charged with housing fraud after being investigated over how she obtained her flat.

Apsana Begum, who was elected to her seat in Poplar and Limehouse in east London last year, has been accused of three offences.

The MP, who is considered an ally of the former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and whose candidacy was backed by Momentum, is said to “vigorously contest” the allegations.

Begum faces three separate charges of dishonestly failing to disclose information in order to make gains for herself or another, or expose another to a loss with the offences dated between January 2013 and March 2016. She is due to appear at Thames magistrates’ court on 10 December. The charges are the result of an investigation by Tower Hamlets council, which as a local authority has the power to bring prosecutions.

A statement issued by lawyers for the MP, who won her seat with a majority of nearly 29,000, said: “Ms Begum vigorously contests these malicious and false allegations. She cannot comment in any further detail.”

The Sun, which revealed the charges, reported last November that Begum was facing an investigation over the flat she moved into months after leaving her estranged husband’s home. The property is understood to be run by a housing association, but the tenants are nominated by the council.

Investigators reportedly wanted to know how she got to the top of an 18,000-strong waiting list so quickly given she did not have children. The paper previously reported that Begum denied wrongdoing, saying: “I was so grateful to be housed, which provided me with the lifeline I needed to live independently and safely.”

A spokesperson for Tower Hamlets council said: “It would be inappropriate for us to comment on any specific investigation. We would urge others to refrain from any unnecessary speculation on any investigation that the council undertakes to avoid prejudicing any court proceedings.”

The Labour party declined to comment. Source: The Guardian.

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