Police send report to prosecutors over Murrell alleged SNP embezzlement

Police Scotland has sent a report to Scotland’s prosecution service in relation to Peter Murrell after the former SNP chief executive was charged with embezzling party funds.

The force announced the move on Thursday, saying in a statement: “Police Scotland has today submitted a standard prosecution report to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) in relation to a 59-year-old man who was charged on April 18 2024 in connection with the embezzlement of funds from the Scottish National Party.

“Investigations continue and we are unable to comment further.”

Murrell, 59, was charged by police in connection with the alleged embezzlement of funds on April 18.

This came more than a year after he was originally arrested as part of the investigation into SNP finances known as Operation Branchform, which was set up to look into how more than £600,000 of crowdfunding was used by the party.

His wife Nicola Sturgeon – the former first minister – and the party’s then treasurer, Colin Beattie, were also arrested but both were released pending further investigation and have not been charged in connection.

With the report now sent to the Crown Office, it will be for prosecutors to decide what further action will be taken, based on the evidence found by police, including sending it to court.

A spokesperson for the COPFS confirmed the report had been received relating to “incidents said to have occurred between 2016 and 2023”.

The spokesperson said investigations into Ms Sturgeon and Mr Beattie “remain ongoing”.

They said: “Professional prosecutors from COPFS and independent counsel will review this report. They will make decisions on the next steps without involving the Lord Advocate or Solicitor General,” the spokesperson added.

“All Scotland’s prosecutors operate independently of political influence.

“Before deciding what action to take, if any, in the public interest, prosecutors will consider if there is enough evidence.

“There must be evidence from at least two separate sources to establish that a crime was committed and that the person under investigation was the perpetrator.

“This evaluation will involve a thorough examination of the numerous witness statements and extensive evidence collected by police.

“Prosecutors may instruct the police to conduct further investigations before taking a decision. ”

A spokesperson for the SNP said: “It would be inappropriate to comment while a police investigation continues.”