Nicola Sturgeon’s husband is charged in SNP Finance Probe

The husband of Scotland’s former First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was charged with embezzlement allegations involving funds belonging to the Scottish National Party.

Peter Murrell was arrested Thursday morning. He had been previously arrested in April last year, as part of Operation Branchform. This investigation has cast a dark shadow on the party which has governed Scotland since 17 years.

Police Scotland confirmed that a man aged 59, who had been taken into custody to be questioned on Thursday morning, has been charged and released in the evening for alleged embezzlement from the Scottish National Party. The force said that a report will be sent in due time to the public prosecutor.

Murrell resigned from the SNP after a long career in March 2023. He was the first arrest made by the SNP last year. The investigation later included former treasurer Colin Beattie, and Sturgeon. The three men were all released at the time without being charged.

Television images of police setting up a tent with screens in front of the Glasgow home Murrell and Sturgeon sparked a political firestorm, which has cast a cloud over her successor Humza Yousaf.

The police refused to comment on the matter further.

A spokesperson for the SNP said: “While it will be a surprise to many, this police investigation is still ongoing, and therefore, any comments would not be appropriate.”

The investigation launched in 2021 focuses on complaints that donations made during the independence referendum fundraising campaigns of 2017 and 2019, were used for other purposes.

The SNP claims that it has more than £600,000. However, the Independent Electoral Commission, which is a watchdog, says the party only has less than £100,000.

Murrell was also questioned about a £107,620 loan he made to the party for working capital in 2021.

Jackie Baillie, the deputy leader of Scottish Labour, said that the rearrest is another “incredibly worrying development” in an ongoing investigation.

Craig Hoy, Scottish Conservative Chair, described Murrell’s re-arrest as “an extremely serious development”.