Police are investigating as many as seven complaints made against the SNP regarding an alleged dispute over donations.
Officers of Police Scotland say they will now look further into complaints made surrounding alleged fraud allegations made earlier this year.
Police are understood to have received reports earlier this year regarding an alleged “black hole”, with the party was accused of dipping into a £600,000 “war chest” earmarked to fund a second independence campaign.
Following the police statement, the SNP moved to reaffirm all money “raised for independence campaigning will be spent on independence campaigning.”
A number of senior members of the party’s finance and audit committee in recent months — including Dunfermline and West Fife MP Douglas Chapman.
Despite having a resounding mandate from members to introduce more transparency into the party’s finances, I have not received the support or financial information to carry out the fiduciary duties of National Treasurer. Regretfully I have resigned with immediate effect 1/2
— Douglas Chapman MP 🏴 (@DougChapmanSNP) May 29, 2021
A Police Scotland 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.”
Mr Chapman, who was elected to the position of national treasurer in 2020, stepped down in May.
There is no suggestion Mr Chapman or any of the other MPs made the complaints, with the initial submission understood to have been made by a member of the public.
Announcing his decision on Twitter, Mr Chapman said he was unable to carry out his “fiduciary duties”.
He said at the time: “Despite having a resounding mandate from members to introduce more transparency into the parties finances, I have not received the support or financial information to carry out the fiduciary duties of national treasurer.”
“Truth must be known”
Scottish Labour deputy leader Jackie Baillie said: “I very much welcome the news that Police Scotland has launched an investigation into the claims of impropriety regarding donations to the SNP.
“For many months the SNP has been embroiled in internal fighting and recriminations over this most serious of matters.
“The truth must be known, and Police Scotland must be allowed to carry out a thorough and detailed investigation.”
Scottish Conservative chief whip Stephen Kerr MSP said: “The SNP have failed to be fully transparent over this funding for months.
“Senior figures have resigned from the party’s executive committee over the matter but the SNP leadership have still not addressed these serious claims.
“The public to deserve to know the truth. It is only right that Police Scotland are stepping up their investigations having received numerous complaints.
“The police must be allowed to explore every aspect of these complaints to ensure they get to the bottom of this increasingly murky situation.”
SNP will cooperate fully
An SNP spokesperson said: “We will cooperate fully with any investigation. As we have made clear, all sums raised for independence campaigning will be spent on independence campaigning.”