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Police drop investigation into alleged £400,000 grants fraud at Tower Hamlets Council

PUBLISHED: 15:52 05 September 2019

City of London Police were investigating the reported misappropriation of a £400,000 grant. Picture: Mike Brooke

City of London Police were investigating the reported misappropriation of a £400,000 grant. Picture: Mike Brooke

Mike Brooke

Detectives have dropped an investigation into alleged grants fraud at scandal-hit Tower Hamlets Council saying there is "insufficient evidence to support criminal proceedings".

City of London Police were investigating the reported misappropriation of a £400,000 grant earmarked for young people at risk of falling into crime in the borough.

Files relating to the allegation were handed to the force by Met detectives last year.

A City spokesman said: "City of London Police has concluded an investigation into allegations of misconduct in a public office, in relation to the administration of third sector grant funding in Tower Hamlets. After consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service, it is the decision of the City of London Police that there is insufficient evidence to support criminal proceedings against any individual."

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In 2017 the Met police started a criminal investigation into electoral fraud in Tower Hamlets, which had allegedly happened under former mayor Lutfur Rahman.

Mr Rahman was forced to step down after an election court found him guilty of corrupt practices in 2015. The former leader of the Tower Hamlets First party has never faced criminal prosecution.

A Met probe, named Operation Lynemouth, took 16 months, involved up to 20 detectives and police staff and cost £1.7million.

But concluded in September last year, with detectives having made no arrests.

Officers uncovered evidence that suggested a £400,000 council grant that should have been used to dissuade young people from engaging in criminal activity was allegedly misused and passed the file to City of London Police.

The borough's Labour mayor John Biggs, who replaced Mr Rahman, said: "As the new mayor, I and my team have made a massive effort recovering the borough from the terrible mess left behind. We have moved a long way since then and must never go back."

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