Peter Murrell released without charge as part of SNP financial investigation
Detectives interrogated him for almost 12 hours.
The couple’s home near Glasgow was locked up for most of the day and Scottish Police officers carried out a thorough search of the house and garden.
Several police vehicles were parked outside and a blue tent had been set up in front of the property.
A search was also conducted at the party’s headquarters at Edinburgh Jackson’s Entry, with officers removing boxes and crates.
Other properties are believed to have been targeted as well.
CONTINUE READING: Police raid SNP headquarters after arresting Peter Murrell
First Minister Humza Yousaf admitted the situation was “not good” for his party but promised the SNP would fully cooperate with the investigation.
In a statement, Police Scotland said: “A 58-year-old man who was arrested today, Wednesday, was charged for further investigation.
“The man was questioned by Scottish Police detectives after he was arrested at 7.45am. He was released from custody at 6:57 p.m.
“As part of the investigation today, officers also conducted searches at a number of addresses.
“A report will be sent to the Crown Office and the Procurator Fiscal Service.
“The matter remains active for the purposes of the Contempt of Court Act 1981 and the public is therefore advised to exercise caution when discussing it on social media.”
The force said they would not comment further while the investigation is ongoing.
The police investigation, known as Operation Branchform, was launched in July 2021 following a complaint from former SNP council candidate and pro-independence activist Sean Clerkin.
A series of different fundraisers followed, with the party raising over £660,000 for pro-independence campaigns.
The police investigation has been ongoing for 18 months, but has intensified in recent weeks.
On February 12, the Herald on Sunday reported that senior SNP officials had been contacted by the force to step up the investigation.
Three days later, Ms Sturgeon announced she was stepping down as SNP leader and First Secretary.
Yesterday her successor said he didn’t think the two were related.
“Nicola’s legacy stands on its own,” Humza Yousaf told reporters.
“Nicola’s legacy, whether it’s in terms of nurturing young people and delivering on The Promise, whether it’s tackling child poverty, there are many legacies she can stand on and I think that’s what she will be measured by.”
He continued: “I believe her a lot when she says how exhausted she was.
“I think anyone who has watched them during these daily briefings, day in and day out as the pandemic progresses, can understand how tiring it is.
“So, no, I don’t think that’s why Nicola Sturgeon resigned.”
He insisted that the SNP would fully cooperate with the police investigation.
The First Minister said officers searching the party’s Edinburgh headquarters “will not be obstructed in any manner, form or form and terms of their investigations”.
“As you will understand, I cannot comment on an ongoing police investigation, but what I can say and absolutely assure you is that the SNP has fully cooperated with this police investigation and will continue to do so.
“The party agreed at my first NEC as party leader that we would order a review of the party’s leadership and transparency with some outside input. As such, we will be announcing the full details on this in the coming weeks.”
CONTINUE READING: Anas Sarwar says SNP faces ‘big questions’ after Peter Murrell arrest
Asked when he first learned of Mr Murrell’s arrest, the SNP leader said it was Wednesday morning “after the event”.
“I think that’s really important for me to emphasize,” he added. “So obviously I’m following it just like everyone else.”
The First Minister admitted that the situation for the SNP was “not great”.
“I think the sooner we come to a conclusion on this police investigation the better, but it is of course up to the police to investigate at their own discretion and in the manner they see fit and appropriate at the given time, so will.” we do sure, we cooperate fully.
“What I can do as the new SNP leader, as someone who hasn’t been involved in party finances in the past, is hopefully bring that new leadership in and I think the review that I’ve been talking about and NEC have governance and Transparency agreed with no external input will be key.”
Labor Deputy Leader Jackie Baillie said Mr Yousaf also had questions to answer.
“This is a deeply worrying development and the investigation by Police Scotland must be allowed to proceed without interference.”
She added, “We urgently need Humza Yousaf and Nicola Sturgeon to share what they knew and when.”
CONTINUE READING: Nicola Sturgeon’s spokeswoman says she had no “prior knowledge” of the action
Scottish Conservatives Shadow Secretary of State Donald Cameron said: “Senior SNP politicians, including Nicola Sturgeon and Humza Yousaf, must cooperate fully and commit to openness and transparency in the investigation of this very serious case.
“While the police investigation into the finances of the SNP is ongoing and given that a suspect has now been arrested, it is right that due process is being followed and any possible wrongdoing is being thoroughly investigated by the police.”
Alex Salmond, leader of the Alba Party, said he could not comment on the details of the case. “I managed the SNP for a long time, so I am very sad about what is happening and what has become of it.
“But you should remember that the cause of independence and the arguments for it have never been stronger. And that’s what Alba and I are focusing on bringing them up.”
https://www.heraldscotland.com/politics/23438232.peter-murrell-released-without-charge-snp-finance-probe/?ref=rss Peter Murrell released without charge as part of SNP financial investigation