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SNP could face investigation into loans from Peter Murrell SNP could face investigation into loans from Peter Murrell
(3 months later)
Peter Murrell resigned as SNP chief executive in March 2023Peter Murrell resigned as SNP chief executive in March 2023
The SNP could face another probe into its finances after taking five years to declare thousands of pounds in loans from its former chief executive.The SNP could face another probe into its finances after taking five years to declare thousands of pounds in loans from its former chief executive.
The Electoral Commission said the party received two payments totalling £15,000 from Peter Murrell in 2018, but did not notify the watchdog until last year.The Electoral Commission said the party received two payments totalling £15,000 from Peter Murrell in 2018, but did not notify the watchdog until last year.
The SNP said it accepted the "short-term" loans should have been reported.The SNP said it accepted the "short-term" loans should have been reported.
Mr Murrell was arrested and released without charge last year as part of a police investigation into SNP finances.Mr Murrell was arrested and released without charge last year as part of a police investigation into SNP finances.
The probe, codenamed Operation Branchform, is ongoing.The probe, codenamed Operation Branchform, is ongoing.
Ex-First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who is married to Mr Murrell, was also arrested along with former SNP treasurer Colin Beattie as part of the inquiry before later being released without charge pending further investigation.Ex-First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who is married to Mr Murrell, was also arrested along with former SNP treasurer Colin Beattie as part of the inquiry before later being released without charge pending further investigation.
Timeline: The SNP finances controversyTimeline: The SNP finances controversy
SNP accounts show deficit of more than £800,000SNP accounts show deficit of more than £800,000
SNP still owes money to Peter Murrell, Yousaf saysSNP still owes money to Peter Murrell, Yousaf says
The Electoral Commission said the SNP reported to it in October that Mr Murrell - who resigned as chief executive in April last year following a row about membership figures - had made two loan payments to the party in early 2018.The Electoral Commission said the SNP reported to it in October that Mr Murrell - who resigned as chief executive in April last year following a row about membership figures - had made two loan payments to the party in early 2018.
The commission said these loans should have been reported the year they were made.The commission said these loans should have been reported the year they were made.
Both loans were for £7,500. One was paid back within two days, while the other was paid back within two weeks.Both loans were for £7,500. One was paid back within two days, while the other was paid back within two weeks.
The commission, which only recently published details of the loans on its website, said it could potentially consider enforcement action over the late reporting of the loans, though that would not be until police investigation had concluded.The commission, which only recently published details of the loans on its website, said it could potentially consider enforcement action over the late reporting of the loans, though that would not be until police investigation had concluded.
According to the latest accounts, the party still owes Mr Murrell £60,000 from a loan payment of £107,620 in June 2021 - half of which was repaid by October of that year.According to the latest accounts, the party still owes Mr Murrell £60,000 from a loan payment of £107,620 in June 2021 - half of which was repaid by October of that year.
Nicola Sturgeon has said she will co-operate fully with the police investigationNicola Sturgeon has said she will co-operate fully with the police investigation
UK political parties are required to submit quarterly records of donations and loans to the Electoral Commission.UK political parties are required to submit quarterly records of donations and loans to the Electoral Commission.
Prior to this year, when the thresholds were raised, parties were obliged to report donations higher than £7,500.Prior to this year, when the thresholds were raised, parties were obliged to report donations higher than £7,500.
Smaller donations from a single donor which exceed the reporting threshold when taken together also needed to be reported.Smaller donations from a single donor which exceed the reporting threshold when taken together also needed to be reported.
An SNP spokesperson said: "Two short-term loans of £7,500 were made in March and April 2018, and each was repaid after a few days.An SNP spokesperson said: "Two short-term loans of £7,500 were made in March and April 2018, and each was repaid after a few days.
"While individual loans of £7,500 do not require reporting, we accept that as both loans were in the same calendar year, they should have been reported and that is what we did.""While individual loans of £7,500 do not require reporting, we accept that as both loans were in the same calendar year, they should have been reported and that is what we did."
The Electoral Commission can impose fines of up to £20,000.The Electoral Commission can impose fines of up to £20,000.
What is Operation Branchform?What is Operation Branchform?
SNP accounts published in August showed the party made a loss of more than £800,000 last year after its income and membership dropped.SNP accounts published in August showed the party made a loss of more than £800,000 last year after its income and membership dropped.
Police launched a formal investigation into the party's finances in July 2021 after receiving complaints about how more than £600,000 of donations for an independence referendum campaign had been used.Police launched a formal investigation into the party's finances in July 2021 after receiving complaints about how more than £600,000 of donations for an independence referendum campaign had been used.
No-one has been charged by police and the party has vowed to co-operate fully with the investigation.No-one has been charged by police and the party has vowed to co-operate fully with the investigation.
Ms Sturgeon, Mr Murrell and Mr Beattie were the three signatories on the SNP's accountsMs Sturgeon, Mr Murrell and Mr Beattie were the three signatories on the SNP's accounts
Following her arrest, Ms Sturgeon said she would fully co-operate with the investigation and was certain she had done nothing wrong.Following her arrest, Ms Sturgeon said she would fully co-operate with the investigation and was certain she had done nothing wrong.
Related TopicsRelated Topics
Scotland
Nicola SturgeonNicola Sturgeon
Peter MurrellPeter Murrell
Electoral CommissionElectoral Commission
SNP (Scottish National Party)SNP (Scottish National Party)