Payout to former FM
Government accused of wasting money as Salmond receives £512,000
Alex Salmond: trial next year
The Scottish government has been accused of wasting taxpayers’ money after it admitted paying out more than £500,000 in legal expenses to Alex Salmond over its flawed inquiry into sexual harassment claims.
It admitted breaching its own guidelines after the former First Minister challenged how allegations against him were handled.
The government confirmed that a final settlement of £512,250 had been paid out for legal costs arising from the judicial review case.
The Scottish government has already said its own spending on external legal fees amounted to £118,523, taking its total legal bill to £630,773, excluding all its internal costs.
That case is not directly related to the decision this year to prosecute Salmond on 14 alleged offences including two of attempted rape, nine of sexual assault, two of indecent assault and one of breach of the peace.
Salmond has denied all the charges, with the case expected to be heard at the high court in Edinburgh in January.
A parliamentary inquiry into the handling of the internal complaints has been put on hold until the criminal case is complete.
Scottish Conservative MSP, and member of the Committee on the Scottish Government Handling of Harassment Complaints, Donald Cameron said: “It is outrageous that over half a million pounds has been wasted thanks to the botched handling of this investigation.
“This is taxpayers’ money that will be handed over to Alex Salmond thanks to the appalling way these complaints were dealt with.
“In addition to this wasted money, the two people who made these complaints have been badly let down by the Scottish Government.
“That is exactly why the Holyrood inquiry that we called for is necessary.
“This scandal cannot simply be swept under the carpet, and parliament must get to the bottom of exactly what happened.”