Natalie McGarry’s finances were ‘spent legitimately’, court hears

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Natalie McGarry is on trial for embezzlement at Glasgow Sheriff Court (Jane Barlow/PA) (PA Archive)
Natalie McGarry is on trial for embezzlement at Glasgow Sheriff Court (Jane Barlow/PA) (PA Archive)

A former SNP has said all of her financial transactions were “spent legitimately” around the time she is accused of embezzling more than £25,000.

Natalie McGarry, 40, told Glasgow Sheriff Court that her father had gifted her in the region of £20,000 during her time at Women for Independence (WFI).

And her aunt, Trisha Marwick, a former Scottish Parliament presiding officer, had also given her cash sums of about £5,000 to help McGarry progress in politics.

McGarry, a former Glasgow East MP, is accused of embezzling £21,000 while treasurer for WFI between April 23 2013 and November 30 2015.

I'm also 100% certain in my mind that everything that came into my bank account for WFI was spent legitimately

Natalie McGarry

A second charge alleges she took £4,662 between April 9 2014 and August 2015 when she was treasurer, secretary and convener of the Glasgow Regional Association (GRA) of the SNP.

McGarry, of Clarkston, denies both charges.

The court heard how McGarry would regularly receive money – often in cash – from family members to help her with campaigning for the referendum and her General Election bid in 2015.

Her father, the court heard, also paid for McGarry and her partner to holiday in Malaga following the independence referendum in 2014.

McGarry told the court she was “on my knees” and “shattered” following her hectic schedule.

But McGarry said she was able to keep track of her finances and denied mixing her personal spending with that of WFI.

When asked by defence agent, Allan Macleod, how she kept track of which money was for personal expenses and which was for WFI work, given the large sums of money given by family, McGarry said: “I did have a note of it on my iPhone and iPad.

“It was stored onto the cloud.

“It was more of a tally than anything, as opposed to anything with receipts.”

She added: “I’m also 100% certain in my mind that everything that came into my bank account for WFI was spent legitimately.

“I had a note of what I could and couldn’t spend.”

However, McGarry said she no longer knew what happened to the iCloud account.

McGarry also told the court she “absolutely did not” deliberately withhold thousands of pounds in donations to charities Perth and Kinross Foodbank and Positive Prisons Positive Futures.

The court saw bank statements which showed £1565.90 had been transferred to the foodbank, but McGarry said she flagged up to the WFI members that the charity had failed to cash it.

This was recorded in the minutes of a WFI meeting from November 13 2014, which McGarry Facetimed into.

McGarry said she did not stay for the whole meeting and denies being present when it was noted she would follow up with the charity.

McGarry also denied withholding a £326 donation from Positive Prisons Positive Futures and said she did not hear back from the charity when she asked for address details to send the cheque.

The court saw emails between McGarry and charity chief executive, Peter White, which appeared to show Mr White sending the details to the wrong address.

Earlier, the court heard that McGarry found juggling her responsibilities “overwhelming” as she struggled to manage campaigning for the 2015 election and her WFI duties.

The trial, before Sheriff Tom Hughes, continues.

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