Nicola Sturgeon arrested as Police Scotland investigates SNP finances
Nicola Sturgeon has been arrested as part of a Police Scotland investigation into the SNP’s finances.
The former first minister, 52, was taken into custody and interviewed by detectives. She was later released without charge.
A spokeswoman for the former SNP leader said Sturgeon had attended the interview by arrangement.
In a statement issued following her release from custody, Sturgeon said: “To find myself in the situation I did today when I am certain I have committed no offence is both a shock and deeply distressing.”
She added: “Innocence is not just a presumption I am entitled to in law. I know beyond doubt that I am in fact innocent of any wrongdoing.”
Police are investigating how more than £600,000 in donations raised to fight a future independence referendum campaign have been spent.
In a statement, the national force said a report would be sent to the Crown Office.
It said: “A 52-year-old woman who was arrested earlier today as a suspect in connection with the ongoing investigation into the funding and finances of the Scottish National Party has been released without charge pending further investigation.
“The woman was questioned by Police Scotland detectives after she was arrested at 10.09am. She was released from custody at 5.24pm.
“A report will be sent to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service.”
Sturgeon, who was first minister from 2014, stood down in February.
Her arrest follows that of her husband, Peter Murrell, the party’s former chief executive, and Colin Beattie, the former treasurer.
Beattie stood down from his position after being arrested and released without charge. Murrell was also released without charge.
Police searched the house Sturgeon shares with Murrell in April.
Commenting on the latest arrest, Labour's Ian Murray MP said: “This is a deeply concerning development and the Police Scotland investigation must be allowed to proceed without interference.”
Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton said: “Obviously we can't comment on a live police investigation and justice must be allowed to take its course.
“It's fair to say that today's events will have huge ramifications both for the SNP and the future of Scottish politics.”
Meanwhile, Scottish Conservatives chairman Craig Hoy called on First Minister Humza Yousaf to suspend his predecessor from the SNP.
He said: “Nicola Sturgeon and other senior SNP figures – including Humza Yousaf – must cooperate fully with this police investigation and commit to full transparency surrounding it.
“The SNP continue to be engulfed in murkiness and chaos. Humza Yousaf must now show some leadership and suspend his predecessor from the SNP.
“The SNP set that precedent when politicians such as Michelle Thomson and Natalie McGarry were under investigation and must do so again here.
“This extremely serious matter is continuing to escalate and the result is that the SNP are totally distracted at the worst possible time. This is the time they should be focused on the real priorities facing the people of Scotland, such as the cost-of-living crisis, fixing our NHS and strengthening our economy.”