Peter Murrell, the husband of former Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, was arrested on Wednesday morning following an investigation into the finances of the Scottish National Party (SNP) of which he was chief executive until the recent leadership campaign.
Police tape cordoned off the Glasgow home of Mr. Murrell as Police Scotland conducted a search of the property; they also carried out searches at the party’s headquarters in Edinburgh.
A police statement confirmed a 58-year-old man had been “arrested as a suspect” pertaining to an ongoing investigation into financial irregularities within Scotland’s largest political party.
“The man is in custody and is being questioned by Police Scotland detectives. Officers are also carrying out searches at a number of addresses as part of the investigation,” a police spokesperson said.
Murrell had been the party’s chief executive since 1999 before resigning last month after a string of internal party issues including allegations he had misled colleagues over the reality of the party’s dwindling membership, which has recently fallen by 31,698 from a previous high of over 100,000. The husband of the former leader had been threatened with a vote of no confidence if he did not voluntarily step down from his role.
Authorities, however, are investigating more serious improprieties including the spending of around £600,000 of party funds that had been earmarked for Scottish independence campaigning.
Humza Yousaf, the party’s new leader who formally took the reins last week, refused to comment on an active police investigation but insisted the party had “fully cooperated with the investigation and will continue to do so.”
“There’s an opportunity with new leadership to make sure we’re being transparent,” he added.
“At its meeting on Saturday, the governing body of the SNP, the NEC, agreed to a review of governance and transparency – that will be taken forward in the coming weeks,” read a party statement following Wednesday’s arrest.