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Former Scottish leader Nicola Sturgeon arrested

Nicola Sturgeon, the former leader of Scotland’s ruling Scottish Nationalist Party was arrested on Sunday on allegations of financial misconduct in the party.

Sturgeon became the latest high-profile member of the SNP to be taken in for questioning over allegations that £600,000 ($750,000) raised to campaign for Scottish independence had been diverted elsewhere.

“A 52-year-old woman has today, Sunday, 11 June 2023, been arrested as a suspect in connection with the ongoing investigation into the funding and finances of the Scottish National Party,” Police Scotland said in a statement.

“The woman is being questioned by Police Scotland detectives,” the statement added.

A police spokesman later confirmed to NBC News that “Nicola Sturgeon … has been arrested.” He also gave a date of birth that corresponded with that of the former first minister.

A spokesperson for Sturgeon, who has not been charged with any crime, also confirmed the arrest in a statement.

“Nicola Sturgeon has by arrangement with Police Scotland attended an interview where she was to be arrested and questioned about Operation Branchform,” which is the name of Police Scotland’s investigation into potential fund-raising fraud in the SNP, the spokesperson said.

“Nicola has consistently said she would cooperate with the investigation if asked and continues to do so,” the spokesperson continued.

Sturgeon’s husband, Peter Murrell, who had served as chief executive of the SNP, was previously arrested in April, along with Colin Beattie, the party’s former treasurer. Both were released without being charged pending further inquiry.

Searches have also been carried out at several properties, including Sturgeon and Murrel’s home, where a police tent had been erected in the garden.

The arrest of Sturgeon, who stepped down earlier this year, was likely to embarrass the SNP, which campaigns to end Scotland’s three-century political union with England.

“These issues are subject to a live police investigation. The SNP have been cooperating fully with this investigation and will continue to do so, however, it is not appropriate to publicly address any issues while that investigation is ongoing,” an SNP spokesperson said in a statement.

Sturgeon was the face of Scotland’s independence movement for eight years until her sudden resignation in February.

At the time, the first female leader of Scotland said that the decision to leave was “not a reaction to short-term pressures.” The investigation into the SNP began less than eight weeks later.

Scotland is part of the U.K., but, like Wales and Northern Ireland, has its semi-autonomous government with broad powers over areas that include education and health care.

Sturgeon was known as a persuasive political leader who continued to build broad support for Scottish independence, despite a vote to remain part of the U.K. in 2014, and as a staunch supporter of transgender rights.

In January she introduced new legislation to make it easier for Scottish people to legally change genders, which was later blocked by the U.K’s Parliament in London.

Sturgeon was replaced by Humza Yousaf, following a bitter election, although his first few months in office were overshadowed by the police investigation.

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