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#EXONERATED: Tower Hamlets fraud inquiry finds “NO NEW EVIDENCE”

An investigation into alleged fraud at Tower Hamlets borough council has found “no new credible evidence of criminality”, the Metropolitan Police says.

The inquiry was launched after the BBC’s Panorama program found that council funds had been diverted into several charities and businesses owned by Bangladeshi and Somali migrants.

Tower Hamlets is a predominantly Bengali area of East London and is headed by the Sylhet-born Mayor Lutfur Rahman.

Mr Rahman said: “I’m extremely pleased, I have full confidence in the legal process of this country, I have full confidence in what the police have done and I am pleased that they have found no credible evidence of criminality and have vindicated me and my administration and all along they have found nothing.

“We are very confident that the auditors will not find any wrong-doing in any part of this council.”

Panorama found that Mr Rahman had more than doubled the funding for a number of Bengali-run charities whilst also approving the sale of Council-owned properties at knock-down prices to Bengali businesses.

In a statement, producers said: “We continue to stand by the programme’s findings which uncovered serious concerns about the use of public money, which are still being investigated by the government.

“Our programme did not say there was evidence of criminality.”

However the Met said there was an continuing investigation by police into alleged irregularity concerning money awarded by Tower Hamlets Council to an organisation in the borough.

According to the Metropolitan Police, the auditing firm PricewaterhouseCoopers is continuing to examine a raft of documents from the Council and looking into the payment of grants and transfer of property from 2010 – the year Mr Rahman was elected Mayor – up to the present day.

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