A FORMER MP from East Renfrewshire has appeared in court over claims she embezzled more than £25,000 from two pro-independence groups.

Natalie McGarry, who represented Glasgow East for the SNP, allegedly embezzled the cash between April 2013 and August 2015.

She denied two charges during a hearing at Glasgow Sheriff Court today.

Prosecutors claim 39-year-old McGarry appropriated £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 the Positive Prisons, Positive Futures charity.

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

She is also accused of embezzling £4,661 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 accounts and transferred funds donated to the association through its website into her own accounts.

Allan Macleod, representing McGarry, entered not guilty pleas to both charges on her behalf.

The case has been continued until a further hearing on November 11 and bail has been continued.

McGarry, of Clarkston, was elected as a MP in 2015 but resigned the SNP party whip after the emergence of fraud allegations, which she denied.

She continued in Parliament as an Independent but did not seek re-election in 2017.

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