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SNP treasurer arrested in independence funding probe

The Scottish National Party's treasurer is arrested over a funding investigation.

The Scottish National Party's treasurer is arrested over a funding investigation. Photo: PA via AP

The Scottish National Party’s treasurer has been arrested by police, a party official says, as part of an investigation into the governing pro-independence party’s finances.

Police Scotland said a 71-year-old man had been arrested as a suspect in its ongoing inquiry, but did not name him.

The party official, who asked not to be named, said the arrested man was SNP treasurer Colin Beattie.

“The man is in custody and is being questioned by Police Scotland detectives,” the police said in a statement. “As the investigation is ongoing we are unable to comment further.”

Earlier this month, former first minister Nicola Sturgeon’s husband Peter Murrell, former chief executive of the SNP, was arrested at their home in Glasgow.

A motorhome parked outside Mr Murrell’s mother’s house in Fife was also seized.

Mr Murrell was released later that day without charge, pending further investigation.

The SNP did not have any immediate comment on the arrest but has previously said in relation to the inquiry that it is co-operating with the police.

The investigation is looking at what happened to more than £600,000 ($1.1 million) raised by Scottish independence campaigners in 2017, which was supposed to have been ring-fenced but may have been used for other purposes.

The arrest comes as the SNP, Scotland’s dominant political party, faces deepening questions about their governance and finances.

The longest-serving leader of Scotland’s semi-autonomous government, Ms Sturgeon, caught the political world by surprise when she announced her resignation in February, sparking a divisive race to succeed her.

Humza Yousaf, who won the contest last month, is now battling to restore the party’s credibility and trying to find new auditors ahead of a July deadline.

Polls show support for the SNP and Scottish independence has dropped since Sturgeon’s departure.

Mr Beattie is the long-serving treasurer of the SNP, having held the post between 2004 until 2020, and then again since 2021.

Police Scotland said a report would be sent to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, Scotland’s prosecutors.

-Reuters
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