A SENIOR figure in an organisation funded by Oxfordshire taxpayers is due to stand trial on three counts of fraud.

Rob Arnold, 49, is a programme executive for the Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (OxLEP). He has worked there since September.

Mr Arnold, of Torside, Wilnecote, Staffordshire, is due to stand trial for two counts of fraud by abuse of position and another for fraud by false representation at Inner London Crown Court on March 11.

Charges are unrelated to his work with OxLEP and the trial is expected to last for three weeks.

A pre-trial review is scheduled to take place at the same Crown Court on Friday.

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OxLEP is a business-led partnership of businesses, councils and universities across the county. Its directors include most of Oxfordshire’s council leaders, except South Oxfordshire District Council’s leader Jane Murphy. The Vice-Chancellor of Oxford Brookes University, Alistair Fitt, is another director.

On OxLEP’s website, it is stated: “Rob joined OxLEP in September 2018 initially as Interim Project Management cover for the Elevate Programme, following which he successfully applied to become a permanent Programme Executive on the ISfB programme.”

An OxLEP spokesman said they were aware of the court case.

He said: "We can confirm that we have received an anonymous letter containing historic allegations in respect of a member of our team connected with their previous employment.

“We are coordinating an investigation under our whistle blowing policy and – although we are unable to comment further at this time – we can confirm categorically that the allegations do not relate to the individual’s role or conduct at the Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership.”