Officials say that Nicola Sturgeon was held on Sunday as part of a criminal investigation into the finances of the ruling Scottish National Party (SNP).
Police Scotland, the country’s national police force, said in a statement that “a 52-year-old woman has been arrested as a suspect in connection with the ongoing investigation into the funding and finances of the Scottish National Party.” Police Scotland said that the woman was in custody and that officers were asking her questions.
Update on investigation into Scottish National Party funding and finances.
— Police Scotland (@PoliceScotland) June 11, 2023
Officials in the UK don’t name suspects until they are charged, but BBC News named the person who was taken as Sturgeon. Later, a spokesperson for her said that she “attended an interview where she was to be arrested and questioned.”
“Nicola has always said that if asked, she would help with the investigation, and she still says that,” the spokesman said.
In 2014, Sturgeon became the first minister and leader of the SNP. She was seen as a strong political figure and became one of the biggest supporters of Scottish independence from the UK. But when she announced her exit as first minister in February, she shocked the country. She said she knew “in my head and in my heart” that it was time to leave.
Her arrest is part of an investigation called “Operation Branchform,” which is looking into “allegations that the [SNP] misspent more than £600,000 in donations for an independence campaign,” according to The Guardian. The arrest of Sturgeon comes just over two months after the arrest of her husband, Peter Murrell, who was the former head of the SNP.
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The Guardian said that Murrell was questioned for 12 hours before he was let go without being charged. Police also searched the home of Sturgeon and Murrell and the SNP’s offices. They also arrested Colin Beattie, the party’s treasurer, but he was let go without being charged.
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