Police Scotland are investigating the purchase of a top-of-the-range Jaguar as part of their investigation into the SNP’s finances, it has been reported.
The electric I-Pace SUV is alleged to have been bought in 2019 by Peter Murrell, the party’s former chief executive and former first minister who is also party chief Nicola Sturgeon’s husband, from a dealership in Edinburgh.
Costing about £95,000, it has previously been photographed by the media parked on their driveway as they waited for Ms Sturgeon to emerge from her home.
But the Sunday Mail reported that in late 2021 Mr Murrell was spotted attempting to arrange to sell an I-Pace at a We Buy Any Car office close to their home in Uddingston, near Glasgow. The registered keeper of the vehicle that was pictured on his driveway changed in February 2022.
It is the second vehicle that has been linked to Operation Branchform after a luxury motorhome was confiscated by police from outside the home of Mr Murrell’s elderly mother in April.
Since July 2021, Police Scotland has been examining the SNP’s handling of more than £600,000 in donations raised in 2017 for a second independence referendum.
Supporters made complaints when accounts lodged with Companies House in 2020 appeared to show the SNP had only £97,000 in the bank despite the referendum never having been held.
Mr Murrell and Ms Sturgeon have been arrested, along with Colin Beattie, the party’s former treasurer. After being interviewed by detectives, all three were released without charge pending further investigations. Officers also searched the couple’s home, erecting a large evidence tent in the front garden.
Ms Sturgeon has said she is innocent of any wrongdoing.
A source told the Sunday Mail: “Police have interviewed at least one worker at the dealership about the sale. This is an extremely high-end vehicle, one of the most expensive electric SUVs on the market.
“The basic price starts at around £80,000 and optional extras can get you up to £95,000 if you are going for all out luxury.”
The Jaguar goes from 0-62mph in just 4.8 seconds with a top speed of 125mph.
A separate source told the newspaper: “I was driving into the We Buy Any Car offices and I was surprised to see Peter Murrell driving out in a very high-spec electric Jaguar.”
Dame Jackie Baillie, Scottish Labour’s deputy leader, said: “This latest revelation demands answers from the SNP.
“The allegations are incredibly serious. Peter Murrell and Nicola Sturgeon have driven trust in Scotland’s politics into a ditch.”
Video footage was leaked earlier this year showing Ms Sturgeon telling a March 2021 meeting of the SNP’s ruling national executive committee that the party’s finances had “never been stronger” and warning colleagues not to suggest there were “any problems” with cash.
Within weeks of the meeting Mr Murrell lent the party £107,620 to address what the SNP previously said were “cash flow” issues
A Police Scotland spokesman said: “As the investigation is ongoing we are unable to comment further.”
An SNP spokesman said: “We cannot comment on a live police investigation.”
Ms Sturgeon was approached for comment.%n