PRESSURE is growing on the SNP in the wake of the scandal engulfing an MP’s business dealings after it was revealed a prominent member was linked to the controversial politician’s property business.
An SNP candidate in next year’s Scottish election has become embroiled in the row over MP Michelle Thomson buy-to-let portfolio, after it emerged he hired one of her firms that specialises in purchasing homes below market value.
The Nationalists confirmed that Ivan McKee, who is contesting Glasgow Provan for Holyrood next year, used Ms Thomson for identifying sales and tenant services.
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Ms Thomson withdrew from the party’s whip at Westminster last week following revelations about her activities in the property market and the way vulnerable sellers had been treated.
Christopher Hales was struck off as a solicitor for the role he played in 13 transactions relating to M&F Property Solutions, which had Ms Thomson as a partner.
In one case, her then-business associate Frank Gilbride purchased a property from a cancer sufferer for £64,000 and sold it to Ms Thomson on the same day for £95,000. Ms Thomson then received “cashback” from Mr Gilbride of around £28,000.
The deal was one of a number of “back to back” sales that are now the focus of a police investigation.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has denied all knowledge of Ms Thomson’s property deals.
Mr McKee, like Ms Thomson, was a board member on the pro-independence Business for Scotland.
He purchased three properties to let out in Edinburgh during 2013 and 2014, using the services of Ms Thomson’s company, which no longer provides any services for him.
It is understood no mortgages were involved in the purchase of the properties and they have not been resold.
An SNP spokesman added that Mr McKee hired Ms Thomson’s Your Property Shop Ltd to identify properties and find and manage tenants.
The firm’s website is no longer available but a retrieved web-link is clear about some of the services on offer: “Here at Your Property Shop we regularly source some wonderful deals for our investors. Wonderful to an investor means obtained at significantly below the current market value. But is it wonderful for the vendor? Well, you know what – it should be.”
It continued: “Sometimes we come across people who have found themselves in difficult and trying circumstances. We hear some truly tragic stories about sudden deaths, messy divorces and terrible debt.”
The website also flagged up the company’s ethics: “Trading and selling is part and parcel of humanity. The best know that having ethical drivers really works, and that it makes for good business. Challenge your sourcers to see how their behaviour stacks up.”
The MP is listed as the sole director and shareholder of the firm, which was incorporated in May 2013.
Ms Thomson, who has denied wrongdoing and has said she is happy to co-operate with the police, gave Mr McKee a fulsome testimonial ahead of his successful selection for Glasgow Provan in August.
She wrote: “Ivan’s support for the SNP team at Westminster has been invaluable. He’ll be a tremendous asset to Holyrood and to any seat fortunate enough to have him as their MSP.”
However Labour MSP Jackie Baillie said: “I note Mr McKee still owns these properties. He should now publish full details of these transactions including what services he received from Michelle Thomson’s companies.”
Scottish Conservative chief whip John Lamont said: “Given the severity of the accusations, the SNP should explain at once exactly how Ms Thomson’s services helped this budding MSP in the Edinburgh property sector.”
Ms Thomson declined to comment.