Former First Minister Alex Salmond has been criticised for receiving a reported £91,000 payout ahead of crowdfunding a legal challenge against allegations of sexual misconduct.
Mr Salmond withdrew a dividend of £91,000 from his company ‘Chronicles of Deer Ltd’, which was established after his resignation as First Minister to manage revenues from his media work.
Details of the accounts for Chronicles of Deer were revealed in the Times newspaper.
The withdrawal was made in the year ending February 28 this year, a month after two women lodged formal complaints about the ex-First Minister’s conduct towards them.
The two-time SNP leader denies any harassment or law breaking, and is currently in a court battle with the Scottish Government over their handling of his case.
In August, Mr Salmond launched a crowdfunding campaign to help fund a judicial review of the procedure, which raised over £100,000 in less than a week.
Chronicles of Deer is a separate entity from Slainte Media, the company which produces Mr Salmond’s chat show on Russia Today.
Alex Cole-Hamilton, a Liberal Democrat MSP, told the Times: “While Alex Salmond has been merrily crowdfunding away, from people with significantly less cash than him, his tax-efficient company has been paying out a king’s ransom to the former first minister.”
A spokesperson for Mr Salmond said: “All crowdfunded receipts are used only and exclusively to help finance the judicial review upcoming over four days in the Court of Session in January. The overall costs of the action are likely to be well beyond even the sum donated.
“Everyone who contributed knew the objectives and, in terms of the rules of the crowdfunder, the sums raised can only be used for the purpose of judicial review. However, in thanking people for their support, Alex has given a commitment that in the event of success of the petition all surplus funds in the account will be donated to good causes in Scotland and beyond. All of this is being separately accounted for.”