Police launch fraud probe into SNP over indyref2 fundraising

Police Scotland says it has received seven complaints in relation to donations and will carry out an investigation

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and her husband, SNP chief executive Peter Murrell.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and her husband, SNP chief executive Peter Murrell.

By Bill Heaney

STV News is reporting that Police Scotland has launched an investigation into potential criminality involving fundraising by the Scottish National Party.

The force says it has opened a formal probe and is asking for assistance into the matter, which is centered around allegations that £600,000 of SNP funds raised by activists has ‘gone missing’.

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “Police Scotland has now received seven complaints in relation to donations that were made to the Scottish National Party. After assessment and consultation with the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, we will now carry out an investigation.

“Enquiries are continuing and anyone who has any information which may assist with this investigation is asked to contact police.”

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has previously rejected the allegations.

She said last month that she is “not concerned” about the finances of the party, insisting that every penny raised to support the campaign for independence would go towards that campaign.

She said: “Money hasn’t gone missing. All money goes through the SNP accounts independently and fully audited.

“We don’t hold separate accounts, we’re under no legal requirement to do that, our accounts are managed on a cash-flow basis, but every penny we raise to support the campaign for independence will be spent on the campaign for independence.”

Police Scotland previously stated that a fraud allegation relating to the funds was “still being assessed to determine if an investigation is required”.

Joanna Cherry, pictured left, announced in June that she would be resigning from the SNP’s ruling body, the National Executive Committee (NEC), having said that a “number of factors” had prevented her from fulfilling the mandate given to her by party members to improve transparency and scrutiny.

It followed the resignations of Douglas Chapman as party treasurer and Marco Biagi, a former minister, from his role heading up the SNP’s independence task force.

An SNP spokesperson said: “We will cooperate fully with any investigation. As we have made clear, all sums raised for independence campaigning will be spent on independence campaigning.”

Scottish Conservative chief whip Stephen Kerr said the SNP “have failed to be fully transparent over this funding for months”.

He said: “Senior figures have resigned from the party’s executive committee over the matter but the SNP leadership have still not addressed these serious claims. 

“The public to deserve to know the truth. It is only right that Police Scotland are stepping up their investigations having received numerous complaints.

“The police must be allowed to explore every aspect of these complaints to ensure they get to the bottom of this increasingly murky situation.”

One comment

  1. Spin spin spin from the First Minister.

    First the missing money, all £660k of it was stated to be earmarked within the accounts. Then it was said to be woven through the accounts. But where was the money. Review of the 2019 accounts which will have since deteriorated revealed the SNP had only just over £90k of assets.

    So where was the missing £660k of money collected specifically to fund a referendum campaign that Sturgeon said in 2017 would happen.

    Well, ahem, it finally came out that the money did not exist, was not earmarked, was not woven into the accounts, because – the money been spent!

    So what was it spent on and can we have a look at the books. Indeed, can the auditors even have confirmation of what is being paid to the First Minister’s husband Peter Murrell who is reputedly getting paid more than the First Minister. Well no, that is a secret, access to the party books are a secret. And so auditor after auditor resigns with no adequate visibility on how and on what the party spends its money on.

    And so did the missing £660k go on Sturgeon’s husband’s salary or maybe his legal costs, or the legal costs of others who foolishly got themselves personally involved in defamation claims against them. Or even paying individuals damages.

    Who knows, all a big secret by the very few in charge.

    One thing for sure though is that Police Scotland and the Crown Office Procurator Fiscal Service now believe there are grounds for a formal investigation into fraud.

    And this quite frankly is a tragedy that it has come to this.

    A good party gone rotten many would say. No wonder so many SNP members have been leaving in their droves. But that’s a secret too!

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