Police enquiries 'ongoing' after more than six months after investigation launched into SNP's 'missing £600k'

Police Scotland’s enquiries into allegations of fraud made against the SNP are still ongoing more than six months after the force opened its investigation.

Asked for an update on the investigation, which was opened on July 13 last year, officers said “enquiries are ongoing”.

The probe was opened after police received seven complaints from pro-independence activists who accused the party of mishandling more than £600,000 in donations for an independence referendum.

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First Minister of Scotland and leader of the SNP Nicola Sturgeon, during campaigning for the Scottish Parliamentary election in Alford.

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The complaints centred around claims the money, raised in two crowdfunded fundraisers in 2017, was ringfenced for spending for independence campaigns and instead was spent on other things.

Announcing its probe back in June, Police Scotland said: “After assessment and consultation with the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, we will now carry out an investigation.

"Enquiries are continuing and anyone who has any information which may assist with this investigation is asked to contact police.”

The more than six months of silence comes as Prime Minister Boris Johnson awaits the results of the Metropolitan Police’s investigation into alleged law breaking in Downing Street during lockdown.

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A total of 12 different events, including one in the Number 10 flat, are being investigated by officers.

However, as evidenced by the investigation into the SNP, these enquiries can take months to be completed.

Concerns around how the £600,000 had been spent led to the resignation of high-profile MP, Joanna Cherry, and of the party treasurer Douglas Chapman.

The new party treasurer, Colin Beattie, admitted in June last year, just £52,000 of the £666,953 raised had been spent on campaigning.

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An SNP party spokesperson told The Scotsman: “We are co-operating fully as you would expect.”

Want to hear more from The Scotsman's politics team? Check out the latest episode of our political podcast, The Steamie.

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