Scotland: Former first minister Nicola Sturgeon arrested as police continue corruption probe

Scotland: Former first minister Nicola Sturgeon arrested as police continue corruption probe

06 June 2023 ( Euronews )

Police Scotland are investigating allegations that party funds were misused during former first minister’s tenure as party leader

Former Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon has been arrested by police as they continue investigating allegations of mishandling of party funds.

Sturgeon, who stepped down as leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP) and of the Scottish government in February this year, was taken into custody on Sunday for questioning.

Her arrest follows that of her husband, former SNP chief executive Peter Murrell, who was taken in by police shortly after Sturgeon was replaced as first minister by Humza Yousaf. Murrell’s arrest also saw police execute a full search of the couple’s home.

The investigation is thought to centre on the use of party money for inappropriate purposes and a lack of transparency in the way it was spent during Sturgeon’s tenure.

In particular, questions have long been raised about the use of more than €600,000 donated by members of the public to fund a mooted second Scottish independence campaign. Reports have said that less than €100,000 in donations remains, with little indication of how the money was spent.

After Murrell’s arrest, police seized a campervan worth more than €100,000 that was parked at the home of his 92-year-old mother. Yousaf has confirmed that the vehicle was bought with party money, and that he only became aware of this after being elected leader.

The party’s treasurer, Colin Beattie, stood down in April after being questioned by police himself. It also emerged that the party’s auditors had resigned at the end of last year; a new firm was eventually appointed last month, and the SNP narrowly managed to complete its formal accounting requirements before missing a crucial legal deadline.

Sturgeon was a consistently popular figure in Scotland and across the UK until her sudden resignation in the spring. At the time, she said she was standing down largely because of the personal toll that serving as first minister for more than eight years had taken.

She has repeatedly denied that her resignation had anything to do with the developing police inquiry, whose progress was not publicly known at the time.