Charges urged in U.K. peerage scandal

April 23, 2007 at 7:43 AM
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LONDON, April 21 (UPI) -- British police recommend prosecuting a Labor Party official in a simmering cash-for-honors scandal unfolding within the party.

In an exclusive story Saturday, the London Daily Mail said a file on the probe by Scotland Yard had been turned over to the Crown Prosecution Service. The 216-page report purports to demand the prosecution of Labor fundraiser Lord Michael Levy, Downing Street aide Ruth Turner and millionaire Christopher Evans.

The scandal involves the alleged trading of peerage titles for donations to the party.

Scotland Yard detectives concluded that after a 13-month investigation in which about 136 people were interviewed as witnesses or suspects, there was sufficient evidence to begin prosecutions.

The Mail's sources said the dossier states "unequivocally" that officers believe Levy, who is Prime Minister Tony Blair's chief fundraiser, Turner and Evans "should face criminal charges."

The newspaper said Levy and Turner were arrested separately on claims they tried to "sell honors and pervert the course of justice." Evans was detained over allegations concerning the abuse of the honors system.

All parties have denied any wrongdoing.

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