Nicola Sturgeon's husband Peter Murrell charged over embezzlement of funds from SNP

The former SNP chief executive was arrested on Thursday morning before being questioned by detectives for hours.

Nicola Sturgeon’s husband Peter Murrell has been charged in connection with the embezzlement of funds from the SNP.

Police Scotland said the 59-year-old, who was the party’s chief executive for 22 years, was taken into custody at 9.13am and questioned by detectives for hours.

Shortly before 7.30pm, police confirmed that Murrell had been charged and a report would be sent to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service.

The former SNP chief executive was being held at Falkirk Police Station but was released from custody shortly after 7pm.

An SNP spokesperson said: “While this development will come as a shock, the police investigation remains ongoing and it would, therefore, be inappropriate to make any comment.”

Murrell was previously arrested as a suspect on April 5, 2023.

On that day, there was a large police presence around the home in Glasgow which he shares with his wife, the former first minister.

Murrell was released without charge, pending further investigation, the same day.

His arrest was the first of three as part of Operation Branchform – Police Scotland’s major investigation into the spending of more than £600,000 in donations for independence campaigning.

On April 18, party treasurer Colin Beattie was arrested and interviewed by police before being released pending further enquiries. Beattie resigned his position.

Former first minister and SNP leader Sturgeon was arrested on June 11.

She “voluntarily” arranged with Police Scotland to be questioned as part of the investigation into the party’s finances, a spokesperson said.

Like the other party figures, she was released without charge pending further investigation.

Scottish Labour MSP and depute leader Jackie Baillie said it was “deeply concerning development”.

She told STV News: “Police Scotland need to be able to do their job without any interference from politicians or anyone else for that matter.”

Scottish Tory MSP Craig Hoy added: “This is a very serious development in the investigation into the SNP’s finances and it’s vital all SNP politicians and staff fully co-operate with this probe.

“This has been going on now for nearly three years and that’s why the SNP must commit to full openness and transparency.”

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “The matter remains active for the purposes of the Contempt of Court Act 1981 and the public are therefore advised to exercise caution if discussing it on social media.

“As the investigation is ongoing we are unable to comment further at this time.”

A spokesperson for the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) said: “Senior professional prosecutors from COPFS and an Advocate Depute are working with police on this ongoing investigation.

“It is standard practice that any case regarding politicians is dealt with by prosecutors without the involvement of the Lord Advocate or Solicitor General. All Scotland’s prosecutors act independently of political interference.

“As is routine, to protect the integrity of ongoing investigations, we do not comment in detail on their conduct.”

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