Former Scottish leader Nicola Sturgeon arrested in finance

Nabil Anas

Global Courant

LONDON – Nicola Sturgeon, the former leader of Scotland’s ruling Scottish Nationalist Party, was arrested Sunday on charges of financial misconduct in the party.

Sturgeon became the last high-profile member of the SNP to be detained for questioning over allegations that £600,000 ($750,000) raised to campaign for Scottish independence had been diverted elsewhere.

“A 52-year-old woman has been arrested today, Sunday 11 June 2023, as a suspect in connection with the ongoing investigation into the funding and finances of the Scottish National Party,” Scotland Police said in a statement.

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“The woman is being questioned by Detectives from Police Scotland,” the statement said.

A police spokesman later confirmed to NBC News that “a Nicola Sturgeon … has been arrested.” He also gave a date of birth that matched that of the former prime minister.

A spokesman for Sturgeon, who has not been charged with any crime, also confirmed the arrest in a statement.

“Nicola Sturgeon, in agreement with Police Scotland, attended an interview where she was to be arrested and questioned in connection with Operation Branchform,” the spokesman said in a statement by Police Scotland’s investigation into possible SNP fundraising fraud.

“Nicola has consistently said she would cooperate with the investigation if asked and continues to do so,” the spokesperson continued.

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Sturgeon’s husband, Peter Murrell, who had served as CEO of the SNP, was arrested earlier in April, along with Colin Beattie, the party’s former treasurer. Both were released without charge pending further investigation.

Searches were also carried out at a number of properties, including Sturgeon and Murrel’s home, where a police tent had been set up in the yard.

The arrest of Sturgeon, who resigned earlier this year, was likely to embarrass the SNP, which is campaigning to end Scotland’s three-century political union with England.

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“These issues are subject to a live police investigation. The SNP has fully cooperated with this investigation and will continue to do so, but it is not appropriate to publicly address issues while that investigation is ongoing,” an SNP spokesman said in a statement.

Sturgeon was the face of the Scottish independence movement for eight years until her sudden resignation in February.

At the time, Scotland’s first woman leader said the decision to leave was “not a response to short-term pressure”. The investigation into the SNP began less than eight weeks later.

Scotland is part of the UK but, like Wales and Northern Ireland, has its own semi-autonomous government with broad powers over education and health.

Sturgeon was known as a persuasive political leader who continued to build widespread support for Scottish independence despite a vote to remain part of the UK in 2014, and as a staunch supporter of transgender rights.

In January she introduced new legislation to make it easier for Scottish people to change their sex legally, which was later blocked by the UK Parliament in London.

Sturgeon was replaced by Humza Yousaf, after a bitter election, although his first few months in office were overshadowed by the police investigation.

Former Scottish leader Nicola Sturgeon arrested in finance

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