Ex Scottish leader Nicola Sturgeon arrested in a financial investigation

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon answers questions from the floor after delivering a speech to the RSA Fellowship in her final public event as Scottish First Minister, at RSA House,central London, March 20, 2023. (Kirsty O'Connor/PA Images/Getty Images)

Former Scottish leader Nicola Sturgeon was detained as part of an investigation into the Scottish National Party's (SNP) financial irregularities. Subsequently, she was released without charges pending additional investigation.

The investigation, which sent shockwaves through Scotland's political system, led to the third arrest on Sunday. Peter Murrell, former SNP chief executive and spouse of Nicola Sturgeon, was detained in April as part of the investigation.

Police Scotland said in a statement that a 52-year-old woman was arrested as a suspect in connection with an ongoing investigation into the funding and financing of the Scottish National Party.

A spokesperson for Sturgeon stated that she was cooperating with the investigation and had attended the Police Scotland interview by arrangement.

"To discover myself in the situation I did today when I am certain I have not committed an offense is both a shock and a source of great distress... Sturgeon tweeted that she would never do anything to jeopardize either the SNP or the country.

"Because of the nature of this procedure, I cannot provide specifics. However, I would like to say... I am beyond any reasonable doubt innocent of any misconduct."

She was detained at 10:09 a.m. (09:09 GMT) and released without charge at 5:24 p.m., pending further investigation, according to Police Scotland. "As the investigation is still ongoing, we cannot comment further," the statement read.

Funding Transparency 

Murrell has confronted questions for a long time regarding the alleged diversion of 600,000 British pounds ($754,000) in SNP donations that were intended to support the organization's campaign for Scottish independence.

Additionally, he neglected to disclose a personal loan to the SNP of more than £100,000 ($125,700), which may have violated laws governing political funding transparency. Subsequently, he was released without charges pending additional investigation.

The party's treasurer Colin Beattie was detained in April and later released.

Sturgeon made her final appearance as first minister in the Scottish Parliament in March, a month after announcing her retirement.

'I am a human being'

Sturgeon's detention is extremely embarrassing for the SNP, which campaigns to end Scotland's 300-year political union with England.

These matters are the subject of an ongoing police investigation. The SNP has been fully cooperating with this investigation and will continue to do so; however, it is inappropriate to address any issues publicly while the investigation is ongoing, according to a spokesperson for the SNP.

During Murrell's arrest, police thoroughly searched the couple's Glasgow residence, which was cordoned off with blue and white police tape.

Sturgeon, the longest-serving leader of Scotland's semi-autonomous government, shocked the political world when she resigned in February, stating that she had become too divisive to lead her country to independence.

Sturgeon, acknowledging the stresses of the office, stated upon her departure that she could not devote "every ounce of energy" necessary to complete the high-pressure position.

"I am a human being as well as a politician," she stated.

Publish : 2023-06-12 07:37:00

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