Ex-Scottish leader issues statement on her arrest
Former Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon has denied any wrongdoing after being arrested by police and questioned on Sunday. Sturgeon was released without charge, amid a probe into alleged financial misconduct by the Scottish National Party (SNP).
“To find myself in the situation I did when I am certain I have committed no offense is both a shock and deeply distressing,” the politician said in a statement upon her release.
Police confirmed on Sunday evening that Sturgeon had been arrested at 10.09am, before being questioned by detectives and released from custody at 5.24pm without charge, “pending further investigation.” Authorities also said she was “a suspect in connection with the ongoing investigation into the funding and finances of the Scottish National Party.”
The former leader, who quit as first minister and Scottish National Party leader in April, said she will take several days to “process this latest development,” but promised “to be back in parliament soon where I will continue to represent my Glasgow Southside constituents to the very best of my ability.”
Sunday’s arrest is the third as part of Police Scotland’s ‘Operation Branchform’, an investigation into claims that £600,000 ($754,000) in political donations from supporters intended to be spent on a campaign to promote independence from the UK was misused by the SNP.
Sturgeon’s husband, Peter Murrell, a former chief executive of the SNP, was arrested in April. Party treasurer Colin Beattie was also detained and questioned as part of the enquiry. Both were released without charge.
“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,” Sturgeon insisted in her statement, adding she could not go into detail “given the nature of this process.”