Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s former Prime Minister Arrested in Party Finance Investigations

Scotland’s former leader is arrested
Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s former first minister, was arrested yesterday by police officers investigating the finances of the powerful Scottish National Party, which she led until her unexpected resignation in February. The news deepens the party’s crises and deals a new blow to its campaign for Scottish independence.

The Scottish police said that Sturgeon had “been released without charge pending further investigation.” (Police officers in the country can arrest people for questioning and then release them amid continuing investigations.) Sturgeon quickly proclaimed her innocence: “I know beyond doubt that I am in fact innocent of any wrongdoing.”

As part of the investigation, the police had also arrested and released her husband, Peter Murrell, the party’s former chief executive, and Colin Beattie, its former treasurer. The inquiry began in 2021 and examined the handling of about $750,000 in donations raised to campaign for a second independence vote.

Now, Scottish authorities are thought to be looking into whether money was diverted for a different purpose, and why Sturgeon’s husband made a loan to the party.

Background: Sturgeon had led Scotland for more than eight years until she announced she was stepping down. When she resigned, she said she was exhausted and had become too polarizing to persuade people to support independence.

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