SNP humiliation: IndyRef2 funds spent on £385,000 office renovations– police investigate

SNP slammed for 'nationalist brainwashing' by McCrae

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The investigations centre around allegations of fraud surrounding more than £600,000 that was raised after an appeal by the SNP in 2017. The SNP pledged that the money raised in its 2017 appeal would be kept aside for a future referendum campaign.

Officers are expected to issue warrants shortly to obtain financial material from the party, as they look into 19 complaints about the fund described as “ring-fenced”.

They are expected to interview Peter Murrell, Nicola Sturgeon’s husband and chief executive of the SNP.

They will also speak to MSP Colin Beattie, who was reinstated as party treasurer last month, and several former party officials who recently resigned over not being shown full accounts by Mr Murrell.

They include the MPs Joanna Cherry and Douglas Chapman, the party’s former treasurer, and three members of the SNP’s finance and audit committee.

The SNP declined to comment on allegations £385,000 of the donations were spent on a refurbishment of its offices near the Scottish parliament.

The SNP also refused to comment on allegations the money was spent on legal costs for Mr Murrell and his chief operating officer, Sue Ruddick, in relation to a parliamentary inquiry into the handling of harassment claims against Alex Salmond, the former SNP leader and first minister.

The Sunday Times reported, according to party insiders, the SNP met legal costs incurred by Alyn Smith, MP for…, after he said without evidence that the Brexit party was a “money-laundering front”.

It marks the latest row surrounding Mr Murrell, who has previously been asked to stand down over claims that he was involved in a malicious campaign to bring down Mr Salmond.

Mr Murrell, who has led SNP HQ for 22 years, denies claims he sought to bring down the former party leader.

But one SNP source told the Sunday Times: “ There are clearly huge issues with the way the SNP is run, including with the finances and governance of the party and headquarters.

“If he [Murrell] hadn’t been married to the party leader he would have been sacked long ago.”

Stephen Kerr, the Scottish Conservative chief whip, accused the SNP leadership of making up contradictory explanations as it went along.

He said: “They really need to get their story straight.”

The Sunday Times was told police officers were “stunned” by the position taken by the prosecution service.

One source said that police officers and the Crown Office were “at loggerheads” before the force’s announcement this month that it was opening a formal investigation, having conducted initial inquiries into complaints alleging fraud.

Mr Kerr then added: “The police must be allowed to investigate without any potential interference which undermines their efforts to find out the truth.

‘That would be completely inappropriate and would only raise further suspicions among the public if the Crown Office were to question what officers were doing.”

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