The Scottish National Party is at the centre of a criminal fraud probe amid claims cash given to a £600,000 fundraising drive has gone missing.
Police Scotland said the investigation centred on seven complaints about contributions and had been launched after consultation with prosecutors.
Detectives are looking at allegations that money that was reserved for campaigning for a second independence referendum had been diverted elsewhere.
The Tories voiced concern over the increasingly sad affair which could see police questioning senior people in the SNP.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s husband Peter Murrell is the chief executive of the party.
The inquiry follows a string of resignations from the SNP’s ruling body in a dispute over the transparency of the party’s accounts.
The Scottish Tory chief whip Stephen Kerr said that the SNP had failed to be completely honest over this funding for months.
He said that senior figures had resigned from the party’s executive committee over the matter but the SNP leadership had still not addressed those pressing claims, and that the public deserved to know the truth, and that it was only right that Police Scotland was stepping up their inquiries having received many complaints.
And he said that the police must be allowed to examine every aspect of those complaints to ensure they get to the bottom of this increasingly murky situation.
Since 2017, the SNP has used fundraising websites to raise more than £660,000 to be used for the specific purpose of a referendum drive, but in its most recent accounts, the SNP had only £96,000 in the bank at the end of 2019.
That led to some independence supporters contacting police, accusing the party of behaving fraudulently, but Nicola Sturgeon has previously denied that any money had gone missing, saying the party’s finances had been independently audited.
Two SNP MPs quit the ruling National Executive Committee (NEC) in May, citing a lack of clarity from the party.
At that point, Police Scotland said it was assessing a fraud allegation relating to £600,000 of funds to decide if an inquiry was needed.
A spokesperson said that Police Scotland had now received seven complaints about donations that were made to the Scottish National Party and that after assessment and consultation with the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Services, they will now carry out an investigation, and that inquiries were continuing and anyone who has any information which may help with their investigation is urged to contact police.
Hopefully, the police will delve deep and get to the root of it all.
Perhaps Nicola Sturgeon just forgot where she put the £600,000 or was the money just resting in her account?
And their own people have quit because they were denied access to data to find the truth, and this is the party in government in Scotland taking the moral high ground, and we’re seeing every day the sidestepping of issues by them diverting from giving answers and doing the job they were elected to do.
It’s good that they’re having this inquiry, but it probably won’t come to anything, and they will delay any papers the police want until they’ve fixed things.
It’s just all jiggery-pokery with the books. The books show the money’s not there, but Nicola Sturgeon said that she’s not concerned over the matter – Peter’s probably got it hidden under his bed in the spare room, and it beggars belief quite frankly, and every politician has a Pandora’s Box, perhaps it’s time hers was opened.