The SNP has removed any mention of the referendum appeal at the centre of a long-running police investigation from its annual accounts. 

In the financial review of the 2021 accounts, then party treasurer Colin Beattie said £740,822 had been raised in donations for Indyref2 from 2017 to by end of 2021.

He said that £235,335 had been spent and the balance of £505,487 remained “earmarked” for independence related campaigning.

However the party’s new accounts, for the year to 31 December 2022, make no reference to the appeal.

The £500,000 “earmarked” for Indyref2 is not identified and the decline in the party’s finances suggest that, even if the money was found in future, it is not instantly available.

READ MORE: SNP goes £800,000 into the red as membership slumps

However the accounts do show a marked rise in unexplained "legal fees".

These almost trebled from £60,193 in 2021 to £178,789 in 2022.

Published spending on legal fees in the 14 years before 2022 averaged £41,355, ranging from £4,958 in 2008 to £156,483 in 2019. 

The SNP’s accumulated reserves fell from £584,649 at the end of 2021 to minus £219,629 at the end of 2022, the first time they have fallen into the red since 2017.

Cash at the bank and in hand fell from £144,975 to £46,039.

The accounts show the party recorded its first back-to-back deficits since 2013 and 204, going £732,072 into the red in 2021 and £804,278 into the red in 2022.

Police Scotland launched an investigation into the SNP’s finances in July 2021 and are examining if money raised for Indyref2 was spent on other things.

Since April, former chief executive Peter Murrell, former treasurer Mr Beattie and former leader Nicola Sturgeon have all been arrested, questioned and released without charge.

On April 5, the day of Mr Murrell's arrest and raids on the Murrell-Sturgeon home in Glasgow and SNP HQ in Edinburgh, officers also seized a luxury motorhome from outside Mr Murrell's mother's home in Fife.

The new accounts state that "motor vehicles" belonging to the party which initially cost £100,790 have since depreciated in value to £80,632 at the end of 2021 and to £64,506 by the end of 2022.

In his report on the 2022 SNP accounts, new treasurer Stuart McDonald MP said: “This report cannot and does not comment on any matters subject to ongoing police investigation.”