POLICE Scotland called on the National Crime Agency to help with their investigation into the SNP’s funds and finances.

According to reports, specialists at the agency, which leads the fight against serious and organised crime, were asked to carry out a peer review, helping to identify any possible lines of inquiry.

The Sunday Times and the BBC report that this was carried out between October and December, several weeks before the arrest of Peter Murrell, the party’s former chief executive and husband of Nicola Sturgeon.

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Since July 2021, detectives have been investigating if £660,000 raised by the SNP specifically to fight a second independence referendum was spent on other things.

Last month, officers spent two days searching the Glasgow home of Mr Murrell and Ms Sturgeon. A luxury £110,000 motor home was seized from outside the home of Mr Murrell’s widowed 92-year-old mother.  

Other items reportedly the police warrants - said to be 100 pages long - include a women’s razor, fridge freezer, expensive pens and a wheelbarrow.

Mr Murrell was arrested and questioned for nearly 12 hours, before being released without charge, pending further investigation. 

Two weeks later, the party’s then treasurer Colin Beattie was arrested. He too was eventually released without charge, pending further investigation.

The NCA - often referred to as the UK’s FBI - is the main agency dealing with money laundering, complex fraud and other forms of financial crime.

Requesting a review from the agency is not uncommon in complex, high-profile investigations.

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One senior police source told the BBC, a peer review is typically "conducted to check on the status, strategy and direction of an investigation".

They added: "The review checks that the lines of inquiry are correct, that nothing has been missed and that the rationale is proportionate and necessary".

The police investigation, known as Operation Branchform, has come under attack from SNP figures in recent days. 

Murray Foote, the SNP’s former head of communications described it as a "grotesque circus". 

Writing in the Daily Record, he said: “The use of forensic tents and a who

MSP James Dornan was also critical. “Seriously, who was in charge of this fiasco? Who ordered it to happen and, if or when we find that nothing untoward happened, then who will be held accountable?” he wrote on social media. “This public parody of policing would never have happened to a PM or ex-PM so why was it okayed in Scotland?”

The Conservative MSP Russell Findlay called for the police investigation to be free of political interference.

“These escalating and apparently SNP-sanctioned dog whistles in relation to this police investigation are unsettling, inappropriate and disrespectful,” he said. “Any perception that a ruling government party would seek to unduly influence the work of the police service is borderline banana republic territory.”

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: "As the investigation is ongoing we are unable to comment further".