A FORMER Herefordshire MEP has been charged with money laundering and misconduct in public office.

Nikki Sinclaire, a former UKIP MEP who lost her seat in Brussels earlier this year, had been on police bail for two and-a-half years after initially being arrested in February 2012.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) allege the 45 year-old "used funds paid into her bank account by the European Parliament in respect of false travelling expenses claims".

However, she has branded the charges "ludicrous".

The offences are alleged to have happened between October 2009 and July 2010 while she was an MEP.

"The decision to prosecute was taken in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors," said Simon Orme, specialist lawyer with the CPS' Special Crime Division.

"We have determined that there is a realistic prospect of conviction and that a prosecution is in the public interest.

"Criminal proceedings have now commenced and Ms Sinclaire has the right to a fair trial."

West Midlands Police confirmed Ms Sinclaire, who lives in Shirley, Birmingham, is due to appear at Birmingham Magistrates Court on September 17.

Three other members of the public were also arrested but will face no further action.

Ms Sinclair said she was disappointed at the decision to charge her.

"The charges relate to my time as a UKIP MEP when I was under the guidance and oversight by the party in the Parliament," she said.

"This will prove pivotal in resolving the matter.

"I strongly refute these charges and will be firmly defending myself.

"I am certain I shall be found innocent of these ludicrous and unfounded accusations."

Ms Sinclaire won a seat in the European Parliament in 2009 while representing UKIP. In September 2012 she left UKIP and founded the We Demand A Referendum Party but failed in her bid for re-election this year.