The SNP’s treasurer Colin Beattie has been released without charge pending further investigation amid the party’s finance investigation.
Police Scotland confirmed on Tuesday morning that a 71-year-old man had been taken into custody as a suspect in connection with the probe.
Beattie, the MSP Midlothian North and Musselburgh, was questioned by detectives and has since been released, the force confirmed.
A report will be sent to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service.
The matter is active for the purposes of the Contempt of Court Act 1981 and the police advised the public to exercise caution if discussing it on social media.
There was no sign of police activity outside Beattie’s address in Dalkeith, Midlothian, on Tuesday morning, or outside his constituency office in the town.
A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “A 71-year-old man who was arrested earlier today, Tuesday, April 18 2023, as a suspect in connection with the ongoing investigation into the funding and finances of the Scottish National Party, has been released without charge pending further investigation.
“The man was questioned by Police Scotland detectives.
“A report will be sent to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service.
“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.”
An SNP spokesperson said: “We have no comment on a live police investigation.”
Beattie has been an MSP since 2011 having previously been an international banker for more than 20 years.
He was the SNP’s treasurer from 2004 until 2020, before being briefly replaced by Douglas Chapman.
Chapman resigned in May 2021, saying he “had not received the support or financial information required to carry out the fiduciary duties of national treasurer”.
On Saturday, Beattie reportedly told the SNP’s National Exectutive Committee the party would struggle to balance the books, reports that have since been disputed by senior figures including former Westminster leader Ian Blackford.
Beattie’s arrest is the second in the police investigation launched in July 2021 into how £600,000 of funding raised by the SNP for campaigning has been spent.
On April 5, Nicola Sturgeon’s husband Peter Murrell was arrested as officers carried out searches at a number of properties including the couple’s home in Glasgow and the SNP Headquarters in Edinburgh.
Murrell, the party’s former chief executive, was released without charged after nearly 12 hours of questioning “pending further investigation”.
Opposition parties have called for Murrell, Sturgeon and Beattie to be suspended from the party as the investigation continues.