Nicola Sturgeon’s husband Peter Murrell quits SNP after being charged with ’embezzlement’ of party funds

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Peter Murrell quits SNP following arrest on Thursday

Nicola Sturgeon's husband Peter Murrell has been charged in connection with embezzlement of SNP funds.

The 59-year-old was charged at 6.35pm after being arrested on Thursday morning and questioned by detectives for more than nine hours as part of their investigation into SNP finances.

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It is understood Mr Murrell has resigned his SNP membership.

Peter Murrell, husband of former First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, has been charged in connection with alleged embezzlement of funds from SNP finances.Peter Murrell, husband of former First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, has been charged in connection with alleged embezzlement of funds from SNP finances.
Peter Murrell, husband of former First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, has been charged in connection with alleged embezzlement of funds from SNP finances.

A Police Scotland statement said: “A 59-year-old man has today, Thursday, April 18 been charged in connection with the embezzlement of funds from the Scottish National Party.

“The man, who was arrested at 9.13am today and had previously been arrested as a suspect on April 5, 2023, was charged at 6.35pm after further questioning by Police Scotland detectives investigating the funding and finances of the party.

“A report will be sent to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service in due course.

“The man is no longer in police custody.

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“As this investigation is ongoing we are unable to comment further.

“The matter is active for the purposes of the Contempt of Court Act 1981 and the public are therefore advised to exercise caution if discussing it on social media.”

Murrell’s charge is part of a probe known as Operation Branchform into the spending of more than £600,000 in donations for independence campaigning.

An SNP spokesperson said: “While this development will come as a shock, the police investigation remains ongoing and it would, therefore, be inappropriate to make any comment.”

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Ms Sturgeon, who resigned as First Minister and SNP leader in February 2023, was arrested two months after her husband was first arrested, while former party treasurer Colin Beattie was also arrested the same year.

Both Ms Sturgeon and Mr Beattie were released without charge pending further investigation.

Murrell, who has been married to Ms Sturgeon since 2010, stepped down as SNP chief executive – a role he had held for more than 20 years – during last year’s leadership campaign.

A spokesperson for the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) said: “Senior professional prosecutors from COPFS and an Advocate Depute are working with police on this ongoing investigation.

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“It is standard practice that any case regarding politicians is dealt with by prosecutors without the involvement of the Lord Advocate or Solicitor General. All Scotland’s prosecutors act independently of political interference.

“As is routine, to protect the integrity of ongoing investigations, we do not comment in detail on their conduct.”