Former First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is arrested by police investigating SNP finances
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Former First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has been arrested by police investigating the finances of the Scottish National Party.
Police confirmed that a they took a 52-year-old woman into custody as a suspect and she is being questioned by detectives.
Ms Sturgeon is the second SNP leader in a row to be taken in by police for questioning in relation to an ongoing inquiry – the first was Alex Salmond.
Detectives are investigating how more than £600,000 in donations for a proposed IndyRef2 campaign has been spent by the party.
Those within the SNP had feared Ms Sturgeon was next in line for arrest after Police Scotland detained two other senior figures in connection with the probe.
Ms Sturgeon’s husband Peter Murrell was arrested at the start of April and questioned before being released without charge pending further inquiries.
On the same day, the couple’s home in Uddingston was searched by officers for two days, including areas of the garden.
Then on April 18, the MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh and party treasurer Colin Beattie was also arrested, questioned and released pending further inquiries.
Police confirmed the news in a statement earlier this afternoon.
It read: "A 52-year-old woman has today, Sunday, 11 June, 2023, been arrested as a suspect in connection with the ongoing investigation into the funding and finances of the Scottish National Party.
"The woman is in custody and is being questioned by Police Scotland detectives.
"A report will be sent to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service.
"The matter is active for the purposes of the Contempt of Court Act 1981 and the public are therefore advised to exercise caution if discussing it on social media.
"As the investigation is ongoing we are unable to comment further."
The arrests were already seen as significant but the questioning of Ms Sturgeon as the former First Minister will far outweigh those of her husband and party treasurer.
It also marks a swift fall from grace for Ms Sturgeon who has dominated Scottish politics since 2014 when she took over as First Minister.
Her successor Humza Yousaf has already ruled out suspending either Ms Sturgeon or Mr Beattie from the party, saying people are innocent until proven guilty.
Leaked footage has already shown Ms Sturgeon lambasting members of the party’s ruling national executive committee playing down concerns about the finances.
That was believed to have been in March 2021 but then in June of the same year her husband loaned the party he ran as chief executive more than £107,000.
March 2017 – Nicola Sturgeon launches a bid for IndyRef2 amid the Brexit stand-off at Westminster
June 2017 – Teresa May’s snap election is disastrous for the the Tories and the SNP with both losing seats, the Nats dropped 20 MPs at Westminster
2017 to 2020 – The party raises £666,953 through appeals claiming the funds would be spent on an independence campaign
October 2020 – Questions raised about what happened to the cash that was crowdfunded for IndyRef2 as SNP accounts show the party has a balance of £97,000. Treasurer Colin Beattie says the cash is recorded separately
May 2021 – A newly elected treasurer MP Douglas Chapman quits the role saying he is not given enough information to carry out his role and was replaced by Mr Beattie
June 2021 – SNP chief executive and Ms Sturgeon’s husband Peter Murrell lends the party £107,000 after the Scottish Parliamentary elections
July 2021 – Police Scotland confirm they have launched an investigation into how the cash for the independence campaign was spent
December 2022 – The Wings Over Scotland website reveals publicly for the first time the existence of Mr Murrell’s loan to the party. Ms Sturgeon said she could not remember when she became aware of the loan
February 2023 – Nicola Sturgeon resigns as First Minister, she denied her resignation was about the ongoing police investigation
March 2023 – Murray Foote resigns after providing inaccurate party membership information that was provided to him. His departure triggers the resignation of Peter Murrell as SNP chief executive the next day
April 5, 2024 – Peter Murrell is arrested by police, he is held for questioning and released without charge pending further inquiries
April 7, 2023 – It is revealed that the SNP’s auditors Johnston Carmichael quit around six months earlier without a replacement being found
April 9, 2023 – A motorhome is seized from Peter Murrell’s mother’s home
April 16, 2023 – Footage from March 2021 show Nicola Sturgeon slamming questions about the party’s finances while hitting out at those who leak from private meetings
April 18, 2023 – Colin Beattie is arrested, questioned and released without charge pending further inquiries, he resigns as Treasurer the next day
June 11, 2023 – Former First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is arrested by police and questioned as a suspect by detectives