Crime & Justice

Ex-Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon arrested in SNP finances probe

Edinburgh, United Kingdom, June 11 (EFE).- The Scotland police on Sunday arrested the former first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, in connection with an investigation into the financing of the Scottish National Party (SNP).

A police statement said the 52-year-old Sturgeon was “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,” the statement said, adding they would send a report to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service.

A spokesperson for Sturgeon said she attended an interview on Sunday in an arrangement with Scotland police, “where she was to be arrested and questioned in relation to Operation Branchform.”

“Nicola has consistently said she would co-operate with the investigation if asked and continues to do so.”

The money trail probe aims to find the destination of 600,000 British pounds that the Scottish National Party raised in donations with the goal of preparing the way to call a new referendum on the independence of Scotland.

Police are trying to find the origin of at least 400,000 pounds of that amount that, according to the Scottish newspaper Daily Record, were not declared to the Electoral Commission when they were collected but rather quite a bit later.

Sturgeon’s husband, Peter Murrell, was arrested in April and later released in the same case.

Their home and back garden was searched as police examined the SNP’s headquarters, seizing boxes of documents and computers.

Colin Beattie MSP, the then-party treasurer, was arrested and questioned as part of the same inquiry on Apr.18.

Beattie was also released later without charge, pending further investigation.

The police cautioned people about discussing the case on social media since “the matter is active for the purposes of the Contempt of Court Act 1981.”

Sturgeon, a strong supporter of the independence of Scotland, stepped down as the first minister in February.

The SNP leader took the role from her former mentor Alex Salmond following the 2014 independence referendum.

The SNP remained the largest party in the Scottish Parliament during her tenure. EFE


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