Alex Salmond sexual misconduct scandal: Police ‘launch FULL PROBE into former SNP leader’ | UK | News

But today it emerged Police Scotland has stepped up their examination into claims he assaulted the female staff members while he was First Minister.

The force is understood to have moved its assessment onto a formal inquiry.

Mr Salmond, 63, has denied harassment and insisted he has never engaged in any “criminality”.

Last month he quit the SNP after 45 years as a member of the party vowing to clear his name.

He has raised £100,000 through a crowdfunding appeal to fund his judicial review against the Scottish Government’s investigation into two complaints made against him.

Police Scotland first became aware of the claims against Mr Salmond a day before Permanent Secretary Leslie Evans – Scotland’s top civil servant – told him she was “considering the public interest in making the fact of the complaints and investigation publicly known”.

A spokesman last month said: “We are carrying out an assessment of information which we have received and inquiries are at an early stage.”

It is understood after evaluating the evidence, officers have decided a formal probe is necessary.

In an updated statement today a Police Scotland spokesman said: “Our enquiries continue. We will not be commenting further.”

Last month it emerged two women came forward in January to report allegations dating back to 2013.

The Daily Record says it has seen the wording of one of the complaints, made by a Scottish Government staff member.

She alleges the former First Minister touched her bottom and breasts through her clothing while she was alone with him at his official residence of Bute House, Edinburgh, the paper has reported.

Today Mr Salmond described fresh allegations that he bullied staff as “nothing more than anonymous malicious briefing”

Claims that civil service trade unions raised concerns about the former First Minister’s temper were reported in the Daily Record.

Although no formal complaints against Mr Salmond were made before he left office in November 2014 it said staff were worried about his behaviour.

Documents released under Freedom of Information laws show that trade unions raised concerns about ministers a decade ago and a new Scottish

Government process for dealing with complaints was introduced in 2010.

A spokesman for Mr Salmond said: “We will do our talking in Court. The Daily Record have been placed on specific notice on recent stories they have run against Mr Salmond.

“This latest material is based on nothing more than anonymous malicious briefing from unnamed sources and a complete misinterpretation of documents released under FoI last January.

“Mr Salmond is now entirely focussed on the upcoming Judicial Review in the Court of Session.

“However, at the appropriate time action will follow against The Daily Record and any other outlet who repeats defamatory material.”

It is understood Mr Salmond was not notified of any change in the police approach.

In a statement his solicitors Levy & McRae today said : “Mr Salmond’s focus is on the petition for judicial review against the Scottish Government which is now ongoing in the Court of Session.

“We have had no contact from Police Scotland.

“However, we have written to the Chief Constable making it clear that if they require in the future to speak to Mr Salmond on any matter our client will be happy to meet with his officers.”

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