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No charges in UK 'cash for honors' scandal

[JURIST] The UK's Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) [official website] said Friday that no charges would be filed [explanatory document] against associates of former Prime Minister Tony Blair [official profile; JURIST news archive], some of whom had been arrested [JURIST report] during an investigation into whether political honors were exchanged for monetary contributions [BBC News Q&A] to Blair's Labour Party [party website]. CPS Special Crime Division chief Carmen Dowd said that there was insufficient evidence for prosecution [press release], and that there was "substantial and reliable evidence that there were proper reasons for the inclusion of all those whose names appeared on the 2005 working peers list" for elevation to the House of Lords [official website]. Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner John Yates refused to comment on the CPS refusal to press charges, but defended the decision to investigate the case [press release], saying that due to the seriousness of the allegations the investigation had to be extremely thorough.

The investigation began after revelations surfaced that some people recommended for peerages had made secret loans to the Labour Party and other major political parties [JURIST report]. Trading cash for honors may violate the 1925 Honours (Prevention of Abuses) Act [BBC backgrounder]. Although Blair resigned in June after 10 years in office, it was expected that he would have resigned earlier [JURIST report] had charges been brought against any of his senior aides. AP has more.

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