Mayor defends aide in LDA grants scandal

London Mayor Ken Livingstone repeated his denial of wrong-doing in a
three-hour grilling session by the
and slammed attacks from the three Opposition parties as part of a
politically motivated and racist smear campaign aimed at removing him from
office before May’s mayoral election.

Conservative members of the London assembly claimed evidence collated by
officers and presented in an 800-page bundle revealed Lee Jasper, Livingstone’s
race adviser, had tried to pressure
London Development Agency
(LDA) officials to hand over money to projects with which he was associated,
The Guardian reports.

The Opposition members accused the mayor of revelling in ‘unchecked power’
during the eight years he had been in office and said a statement he made in
December, claiming ‘every penny’ spent by the LDA was accounted for, was untrue.

However, Livingstone said the £70,000 listed as unaccounted for in an
auditor’s report earlier this month related to a project for disadvantaged
Londoners and ‘until I got the result of the audit investigation a couple of
weeks ago I did not know’.

Further Reading:

Opposition calls for mayor’s aide’s resignation

story in The Guardian

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