The question came late and went unanswered. "I am not going to comment on an ongoing police investigation," Nicola Sturgeon settled as he left the hall of Bute House, the official residence of Scotland's chief ministers, where he had just announced his resignation from office. It was not the first time that the still head of the autonomous government and leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP) evaded a question related to the investigations of an alleged fraud and financial irregularities that fully concern her husband, Peter Murrell, and they splash tangentially.
Murrell rose to the SNP's executive leadership in 1999 and retained his position as CEO during the eight years that Sturgeon has led the independence party and the Scottish nation. The symbiotic relationship between the leadership of the party and the government, with its potential conflicts of interest, now threatens to trap the outgoing president in a shady scandal of financial donations and loans for political purposes.
The Wings Over Scotland platform, critical of Sturgeon's management and channeling the allegations, links the resignation of the chief minister to the police operation, which is about to enter the phase of interrogating SNP executives, affiliates and donors.
At the heart of the mess there is more than half a million euros that were raised in a 2017 campaign expressly intended for the preparations for a sovereignty referendum. Brexit had been imposed the previous year in Scotland against the majority of the electorate and Sturgeon relaunched the dream of self-determination as a way, this time, to maintain the autonomous territory as an integral member of the European Union. The consultation has not yet been held but the money has disappeared from the accounts published by the SNP.
Half a dozen affiliates and activists denounced the situation to the Police, who fully entered the case in 2021. Meanwhile, donors requested the return of their contributions and resignations were registered in the SNP executive in protest of the opacity of the system. The complainants suspect that the money collected was diverted to general expenses of the party and to promote the selection of electoral candidates related to the leadership.
Rep. Joanna Cherry this week called for Murrell's resignation in parallel with Sturgeon's departure. "The leadership of the SNP and the management of the party have been deeply linked... Peter Murrell cannot continue as CEO under the new leader, who must have the freedom to choose his successor. Until then we need a neutral adviser," the tweet tweeted. prominent parliamentarian, critic of the Gender Change Law and object of ferocious attacks from the trans collective.
Murrell also has to account for a loan of 107,000 pounds (about 120,000 euros) that he made to the party in 2021, but did not declare it to the Electoral Commission until the following year. In addition, the identity of Sturgeon's husband was camouflaged in the SNP's internal accounting, attributing the origin of the money to "executive management". The chief minister has yet to answer all questions about this monetary contribution that her husband allegedly made from her own "resources" in order to "help with the cashflow" of the SNP.
According to the criteria of The Trust Project