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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 December 2007, 12:31 GMT
'SAS' soldiers appear in court
British soldier in Iraq
The identities of the soldiers are being kept a secret
Six soldiers have appeared in court charged with conspiracy to defraud.

The men, reportedly serving with the SAS, appeared before a military judge at a closed plea and directions hearing in central London.

An MoD spokesman confirmed that six serving personnel were being held on conspiracy to defraud charges but did not comment further.

It is thought the charges followed the discovery that more than 250,000 was missing from a training budget.

Two of the men are reported to be badged members of 22 Special Air Service, while the remaining four serve with the unit on attachment in administrative and support roles.

Their identities are likely to be protected for national security reasons.

If found guilty, the charges carry prison sentences of up to five years.

They are reported to be the first in the history of the elite regiment to be publicly court martialled for such a serious criminal offence.

It is alleged that more than 250,000 was taken from a budget for exercises in Brunei and Borneo between 2003 and 2006.

The SAS regularly sends its soldiers for survival training in rainforests in the Far East.



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