On the day that the former Labour MP Jim Devine was found guilty on two counts of false accounting, here is the car-crash interview in which he hilariously attempted to justify fraud as “moving money around”.
In the interview, with Channel 4 News‘s Krishnan Guru-Murthy, a tired and emotional Devine admitted submitting false invoices for stationery in order to pay his staff. Yet, in a remarkble display of naivety, he maintained that he had done nothing wrong. His defence? That a Labour “whip” told him the arrangement was legitimate, and he did not personally benefit.
It’s worth watching the interview in full, but here’s the key exchange.
Jim Devine MP: “I was moving money from communications to the staffing budget.
“I was advised by a whip that I could do this, who said that you could move money about like this.
“There was stationery . . . other parts of the money went into a staffing account. I was told that that was acceptable. Nobody queried it.”
Krishnan Guru-Murthy: “Isn’t that fraud, if you claim for one thing and use it for something else?”
JD: “I don’t see that it is. The fraud, I would suggest, and criminal activity, I would suggest, is that it is to my benefit.
“None of this was to my benefit. I did not financially benefit by these two receipts.”
KGM: “But in simple terms you submitted a claim for five and a half thousand pounds for stationery. You did not spend five and a half thousand pounds on stationery, did you?”
JD: “I moved money around, as I was told I was entitled to do.”