FORMER junior minister Ivor Callely has appeared in court charged with six fraud offences for allegedly making false claims for mobile phones while a serving politician.
The former TD and Senator, who has been at the centre of an investigation over expenses claims for at least two years, was granted bail at a brief hearing in the Dublin District Court.
Callely is charged with submitting bogus invoices for mobile phone handsets over the course of three years.
The offences date from November 2007, February 2008 and September to December 2009.
No plea was entered and Callely, 54, was bailed to appear again at the District Court on April 25.
The former Fianna Fail representative, who lives at St Lawrence Road, Clontarf, north Dublin was arrested at his office in nearby Killester this morning.
If convicted, Callely could face a fine or up to 10 years in prison.
He is charged under Section 26 of the Theft and Fraud Offences Act 2001.
Callely is accused of using false invoices submitted to Leinster House officials in a bid to claim the cost of new mobile phone handsets while a member of the Oireacthas.
As a member of the parliament he was entitled under a direct purchase of mobile phones scheme to buy handsets and claim expenses for them with vouched receipts.
Dressed in a navy suit jacket with an open-collared blue shirt, Callely looked relaxed during the court proceedings, presided over by Judge Patricia McNamara.
He leaned back on a court seat with one leg crossed over the other and arms folded, as he glanced around the room.
Detective Garda Adrian Kelly, of the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation, told the court that Callely made no reply to any of the six charges put to him at Clontarf Garda Station following his arrest at 9.50 this morning.
The former politician did not speak during the court proceedings.
The disgraced former minister resigned from the Seanad in 2010.
Callely fought and won a legal battle against a 20-day suspension from the upper house in 2011 over 81,000 euro (£69,000) travel expenses run up while he was a sitting Senator but living in his holiday home in Kilcrohane, west Cork, over three years.
The High Court ordered that he be paid almost 17,000 euro (£14,500) for loss of earnings during his suspension.
His political base was Clontarf, north Dublin.
Callely was a TD between 1989 and 2007. He was appointed junior minister at the Department of Transport by former taoiseach Bertie Ahern in 2002.
He was appointed to the Seanad in 2007.
He resigned from Fianna Fail in August 2010.