SNP crisis: Police launch official investigation into allegations of fraud

Michael Gove issues warning to SNP over transparency

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Police Scotland had previously been looking into complaints over “alleged financial irregularity”, but officers have just confirmed they will launch a full investigation into the matter. The allegations concern about £600,000 of donations to the SNP which had been part of a crowdfunder for money to be spent on a future independence referendum. Last month SNP Treasurer Colin Beattie said the money raised in the fundraiser had already been spent by the party. 

But he said “amounts equivalent” to the money raised would be spent on campaigning for a second Scottish independence referendum.

A spokesperson for Police Scotland said a full investigation had now been launched into the allegations after seven complaints were made in relation to financial donations to the SNP.

The spokesperson said: “Police Scotland has now received seven complaints in relation to donations that were made to the Scottish National Party.

“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.”

Last month, Mr Beattie said a total of £666,953 had been raised through referendum-related appeals between 2017 and 2020, but only £51,760 had been spent directly on campaigning for another vote.

SNP had previously confirmed it would spend £600,000 on referendum campaign preparations.

Despite having already spent much of the money, the party’s treasurer said it would spend the same amount of money on a future referendum campaign.

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The SNP’s accounts show the party has £96,854 in the bank.

The party had come under mounting pressure to identify the money in its accounts.

Mr Beattie has only recently taken the role of treasurer, after his predecessor Douglas Chapman resigned over a lack of transparency over the party’s accounts.

He said last month: “Of course, the SNP is the party of independence and, as such, every penny we spend – directly or indirectly – is in support of winning independence.

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“However, through this internal process we will ensure that an amount equivalent to the sums raised from these appeals will go directly to our work to secure a referendum and win independence.

“The balance remains ‘earmarked’ – through the internal process explained above – for independence-related campaigning.

“It is worth noting that there are other items of expenditure that it would have been perfectly legitimate for us to apply against this income, but we have chosen not to do so.

“In other words, we are taking a very strict approach to ensuring that this income supports expenditure directly related to the campaign for independence.”

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