Scotland's Sturgeon released without charge after funding probe arrest

Nicola Sturgeon speaks during a press conference at Bute House in Edinburgh, Wednesday, Feb. 15 2023. (Jane Barlow/Pool photo via AP, File)

Former Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has been released without charge pending further investigation after being arrested earlier in connection with a police probe into the Scottish National Party's finances.

"A 52-year-old woman who was arrested earlier today... has been released without charge pending further investigation," Police Scotland said in a statement on Sunday.

Earlier, the police said the woman was detained "as a suspect in connection with the ongoing investigation into the funding and finances of the Scottish National Party."

"The woman is in custody and is being questioned by Police Scotland detectives," the force added.

UK police do not name suspects until they are charged. The BBC and other media outlets identified the arrested woman as Sturgeon. The party did not immediately comment.

Scottish police have been investigating how $745,000 (£600,000) designated for a Scottish independence campaign was spent.

Party treasurer Colin Beattie and former chief executive Peter Murrell were arrested previously and questioned as part of the investigation. Neither has been charged.

Murrell is Sturgeon’s husband, and police searched the couple's home in Glasgow after his arrest in April.

Power struggle

Sturgeon unexpectedly resigned in February after eight years as Scottish National Party leader and first minister of Scotland’s semi-autonomous government. She said that it was the right time for her, her party and her country to make way for someone else.

Sturgeon left office amid divisions in the SNP and with her main goal — independence from the UK for the nation of 5.5 million people — unmet.

Scottish voters backed remaining in the UK in a 2014 referendum that was billed as a once-in-a-generation decision. The party wants a new vote, but the UK Supreme Court has ruled that Scotland can't hold one without London's consent. The central government has refused to authorize another referendum.

Sturgeon's departure unleashed a tussle for the future of the SNP amid recriminations over the party’s declining membership and divisions about the best path towards independence.


Source: TRT