Today Police Scotland has launched a formal investigation into SNP fundraising after assessing a fraud allegation since March. In the words of The Herald, “The development is a huge blow to Nicola Sturgeon”, not least because the person ultimately responsible is the SNP chief executive, and her husband, Peter Murrell. Guido has a feeling the move by Police Scotland would be headline news were it about Boris…
”Police Scotland has now received seven complaints in relation to donations that were made to the Scottish National Party.
“After assessment and consultation with the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, we will now carry out an investigation.
“Enquiries are continuing and anyone who has any information which may assist with this investigation is asked to contact police.”
The development is also a swansong for Wings Over Scotland, who announced their closure two months ago. The blog came back online today to report the development, though his loyal readers will know the site had been investigating the apparent disappearance of £600,000 raised from supporters for the past 15 months. As Wings summed up in April:
“The money was supposedly to be “ring-fenced” for spending ONLY in a future indyref, and the party gave explicit and hotly-stated guarantees at the time of the first appeal that the money would definitely NOT be spent on party business.
But when the party’s 2019 accounts were published they showed that the SNP had less than £100,000 in the bank at the end of that year, and total net assets of less than £272,000. The £600,000 from the fundraisers was nowhere to be found, and the then-party treasurer’s feeble insistence that it was “woven through” the accounts in some unspecified way satisfied only the most gullible.”
This summary was followed by a much more detailed investigation days later. Guido looks forward to following this one closely…
Amid allegations that the SNP has secretly redirected £600,000 from their referendum campaign funds, Peter Murrell – SNP CEO and husband of Nicola Sturgeon – is now revealed to have immediately reimbursed the donation of an ex-party member who threatened to contact the police over the case. All in a day’s work for Murrell, who’s already facing accusations of fraud for refusing to disclose the SNP’s full accounts.
In an email exchange revealed to The Daily Record, the former party member wrote:
“I asked you to return my monies paid into the ‘ringfenced’ Independence Fund. I have failed to receive a response […] Please note that if you fail to respond within the next seven days or return monies paid, I will report you to the police for theft/fraud.”
Despite only emailing the party inbox, Murrell himself intervened, responding:
“The National Treasurer has approved your refund and the bank transfer of £40 will be processed today. Kind regards, Peter.”
The growing scandal, which Sturgeon continues to insist she is “not concerned” about, has already seen the police interview two complainers, and led to the resignations of five senior party officials – including MPs Douglas Chapman and Joanna Cherry. No wonder Murrell was keen to keep the story from escalating…