Peter Murrell re-arrested in SNP finances probe

Former SNP chief executive Peter Murrell has been re-arrested in connection with an investigation into party finances.

The 59 year old was taken into custody for questioning at 9.13am, more than a year after his first arrest.

On April 5 2023, Police Scotland officers searched Mr Murrell’s home near Glasgow, which he shares with former Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon.

He was later released without charge pending further investigation. Police Scotland have now confirmed his re-arrest.

It follows a probe known as Operation Branchform into the spending of more than £600,000 in donations for independence campaigning.

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

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

A statement from Police Scotland said: “A 59-year-old man has today, Thursday April 18 April 2024, been re-arrested in connection with the ongoing investigation into the funding and finances of the Scottish National Party.

“The man, who was previously arrested as a suspect on April 5 2023, was taken into custody at 9.13am and is being questioned by Police Scotland detectives.”

A blue forensic tent was erected in the couple’s garden last year as part of the investigation and the SNP headquarters in Edinburgh was also searched.

Police also seized a camper van from outside the Fife home of Mr Murrell’s mother.

Following Ms Sturgeon’s arrest in June 2023, she insisted she had “done nothing wrong”.

Scottish Conservative chairman Craig Hoy said the re-arrest of Mr Murrell was “an extremely serious development”.

The Tory MSP said: “It’s essential that all SNP staff and politicians, past and present, co-operate fully with Police Scotland.”

He added that “this complex investigation has been going on for three years and it’s vital that the SNP are fully open and transparent so that the police can finally conclude their probe”.

Scottish Labour deputy leader Dame Jackie Baillie said: “This is another incredibly concerning development in this long-running investigation.

“It is essential that Police Scotland is able to proceed with this investigation without interference.”

An SNP spokesperson said: “It would be inappropriate to comment at this stage.”