Finances probe

Police ‘speak to Murrell’ over £95,000 Jaguar

Nicola Sturgeon and Peter Murrell
Nicola Sturgeon and Peter Murrell were arrested and released without charge

Former SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon’s husband Peter Murrell has been interviewed by detectives over the purchase of a luxury car as part of their enquiries into the party’s finances.

The £95,000 electric Jaguar I-Pace SUV is believed to have been bought by Mr Murrell, the former SNP chief executive, from a dealership in Edinburgh in October 2019.

According to a report this weekend, police officers have interviewed at least one worker at the dealership about the transaction.

A car fitting the vehicle’s description was later pictured outside the couple’s house in Uddingston, near Glasgow, in March 2021.

A source told the Sunday Mail: “This is an extremely high-end vehicle, one of the most expensive electric SUVs on the market. The basic price starts at around £80,000 and optional extras can get you up to £95,000 if you are going for all-out luxury.”

It is believed that the car has since been sold via the online car sales platform We Buy Any Car.

Ms Murrell, Ms Sturgeon and the MSP Colin Beattie, who was the party’s treasurer, were arrested and questioned as suspects in Police Scotland’s Operation Branchform. All three were released without charge pending further investigation.

Police launched the investigation in July 2021 after a series of complaints from party members about how more than £600,000 of donations for an independence campaign raised between 2017 and 2019 were spent.

Questions were raised when accounts showed the SNP had just under £97,000 in the bank at the end of 2019 and total net assets of about £272,000.

police outside Sturgeon home
Police outside the home of Sturgeon and Murrell earlier this year

The car is the second vehicle to be investigated since the arrests were made in April, shortly after the conclusion of the SNP leadership contest to replace Ms Sturgeon after her sudden and unexpected resignation.

Police confiscated a £110,000 luxury motorhome from the driveway of Mr Murrell’s 92-year-old mother, Margaret, in Dunfermline, Fife.

The SNP has said it cannot comment on a live police inquiry.

In July the outgoing chief constable, Sir Iain Livingstone, announced that the police operation had grown beyond the initial allegation of fraud and would now look at potential embezzlement and the misuse of funds.

Last month, senior legal figures raised concerns about the length of time being spent on the investigation.

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