Police seize high-end campervan in SNP finances probe over 'missing' £600,000 in party contributions
A luxury campervan has reportedly been seized by police from a property in Fife during the investigation into the SNP’s finances
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A luxury Niesmann + Bischoff motorhome was taken from a house in Fife at the same time police searched the home of Nicola Sturgeon and her husband, Peter Murrell, according to a report from the Mail on Sunday.
The same model of campervan is worth around £110,000. Scottish police are investigating the SNP over questions about how £600,000 in campaign funds was spent.
Murrell, the party’s former chief executive, and husband of former SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon, was arrested on this week by police. He was released later the same day pending further investigation. Murrell resigned as Chief Executive on 18 March ahead of a vote of no-confidence and was replaced by former Chief Executive Michael Russell (as acting CEO). Russell is also the SNP’s President.
Police Scotland officers have also searched the SNP’s headquarters in Edinburgh and removed boxes of items from the site.
Mike Russell described the investigation as the party’s biggest crisis in 50 years. In an interview with The Hearld, he said: “This is the biggest and most challenging crisis we’ve ever faced, certainly while we’ve been in government. But I have an obligation to this party and the movement for Scottish independence that’s been such a massive part of my life for so long.
“I’ll do as much as I can, but it’s true that the last few weeks have been pretty wearing ... Parties and institutions are fallible. In a sense though, it’s a case of The King is Dead, Long Live the King. That’s the way it’s got to be.”
On Saturday (8 April), Sturgeon spoke publicly for the first time since her husband’s arrest, addressing reporters outside her home. In a short statement, she said the last few days had been “obviously difficult” and that she would “fully co-operate” with the police investigation.
She said Murrell is home but “not able to say anything” about his arrest while the inquiry continues. “Again, that’s not necessarily a matter of choice. That’s just the nature of this,” she added.
The Glasgow Southside MSP said she intends to “get on with life and my job, as you would expect me to”.
Earlier, it emerged that the accountancy firm which had audited the SNP’s books for more than a decade had resigned.
Johnston Carmichael informed the party of the decision before Mr Murrell’s arrest. The party’s treasurer is now seeking another auditor in order to comply with Electoral Commission rules.
Police Scotland have said their investigation is ongoing. An SNP spokesman said: “It would not be appropriate to comment on any live police investigation. The SNP has been co-operating fully with this investigation and will continue to do so.”