Former SNP treasurer Colin Beattie has said he had no knowledge of the party’s purchase of a luxury motorhome seized by police from the home of Nicola Sturgeon’s mother-in-law.
The Niesmann+Bischoff campervan, which can sell for more than £100,000, was removed from the Dunfermline home of Peter Murrell’s mother after the former SNP chief executive was arrested earlier this month as part of an inquiry into the funding and finances of the party.
Mr Murrell was later released without charge “pending further investigation”.
Asked if he knew about the vehicle purchase, Mr Beattie said: “No, I didn’t know about it.”
First minister Humza Yousaf recently told Sky News the state-of-the-art vehicle was an SNP asset and was part of the warrant list of items seized by police.
The long-running probe is linked to the spending of around £600,000 raised by supporters to be earmarked for Scottish independence campaigning.
It is understood there have been complaints the ringfenced cash has been used improperly by being spent elsewhere.
Mr Murrell and Ms Sturgeon’s Glasgow home has been searched as part of the investigation. Officers were also seen removing boxes from SNP headquarters in Edinburgh.
The party said it has been “cooperating fully” with the investigation and would “continue to do so”.
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While speaking to the media, Mr Beattie denied the SNP is in danger of going bust.
“The SNP is in the black,” he said.
However, he did admit: “We’re a going concern, definitely.”
The party’s auditors quit last year and have yet to be replaced, with the SNP Westminster group at risk of missing out on £1.2m from Westminster authorities, known as Short money, if it fails to submit audited accounts by 31 May.
MP Stuart McDonald became the new SNP treasurer on Saturday.
Asked why the party was having such trouble appointing new auditors, Mr Beattie said: “Partly, that’s a market situation.”
He made no comment when asked if he should be suspended from the SNP following his arrest, but said he has “no plans at the moment” to resign from Holyrood’s Economy and Fair Work Committee, adding that he believes he is a “fit and proper person” to serve on it.
The MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh was also asked if his arrest was the worst thing which has ever happened to him.
He replied: “No, I was in Beirut actually when I was under artillery fire.
“That was worse.”