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Husband of former Scottish first minister arrested over party finances investigation

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The husband of former Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, Peter Murrell, was arrested on Wednesday in connection with an investigation into the funding and finances of the Scottish National Party.

Murrell, 58, stepped down as the SNP’s chief executive last month after more than two decades in the role following Sturgeon’s shock resignation as first minister in February.

A 58-year-old man was “arrested as a suspect” and is being questioned by detectives, Police Scotland said in a statement.

“Officers are also carrying out searches at a number of addresses as part of the investigation,” the statement added.

He was later released without charge “pending further investigation,” according to Police Scotland, after spending nearly 12 hours in custody.

Police Scotland has been investigating the SNP’s handling of money that was slated for Scottish independence campaigning, according to PA Media.

A spokesperson for the SNP said the party would not comment on a live investigation, but it “has been cooperating fully with this investigation and will continue to do so.”

The party’s governing body has agreed to a review of governance and transparency, the spokesperson added.

The SNP has led the Scottish government since 2007, but momentum behind its goal of breaking away from the UK has slowed recently as the party’s polling has dipped and political headaches have mounted.

Murrell and Sturgeon have been key figures in the Scottish independence movement for years.

Sturgeon served as the country’s first minister for eight years, but dramatically announced that she would resign from her post on February 15.

At the time, Sturgeon said she knew the “time is now” for her to stand down, adding that the move was “right for me, for my party and for the country.”

Her announcement sparked a leadership battle which was won by Humza Yousaf, a race which exposed divisions within the party.

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