Ex-SNP MP back in court in embezzlement case

A former SNP MP accused of embezzling more than £25,000 from two pro-independence groups has made a further court appearance.

Natalie McGarry denied two embezzlement charges at Glasgow Sheriff Court in September.

At a hearing on Wednesday, the court heard a trial has been pencilled in for May.

McGarry, 39, is accused of appropriating £21,000 for her own use in her role as treasurer of the Women for Independence group between April 26 2013 and November 30 2015.

She is accused of failing to transfer charitable donations raised by the group to Perth and Kinross Foodbank and to Positive Prisons, Positive Futures.

It is alleged she transferred funds raised through events on behalf of Women for Independence into her own personal bank account and used cheques drawn on the organisation’s bank account to deposit money in her own accounts.

McGarry is also accused of embezzling £4,661.02 for her own use from the Glasgow Regional Association of the SNP between April 9 2014 and August 10 2015.

It is alleged that in the course of her roles as treasurer, secretary and convener of the association, she used cheques drawn on bank accounts held in its name to pay expenses it had not incurred and retained reimbursements to which she was not entitled.

The indictment also alleges she used cheques drawn on bank accounts held in the association’s name to deposit money in her own personal bank accounts, and transferred funds donated to the association through its website into her own accounts.

Lawyer Allan Macleod, representing McGarry, said: “A date has been pencilled in for May but we are not sure if it’s pencil or ink.

“Since the last hearing both parties have been working towards ensuring that we are going to be ready to proceed to trial at that time.

“As things presently stand the defence are not in a position to proceed to trial but there have been significant developments in all aspects of preparation since the case last called.”

Sheriff Joseph Platt continued the case to a further hearing on February 10.

McGarry was elected as an SNP member in 2015 but resigned the party whip after the emergence of fraud allegations – which she denied.

She continued in Parliament as an independent representing Glasgow East but did not seek re-election in 2017.