Former Scottish leader charged in sex harassment probe

Edinburgh (AFP) –


Former Scottish first minister and pro-independence figurehead Alex Salmond was on Thursday arrested and charged in a probe over allegations of sexual harassment, police said.

"We can confirm that a 64-year-old man has been arrested and charged," a spokeswoman for Police Scotland said in response to a question about reports of Salmond's arrest.

Salmond became Scottish first minister in 2007 and took Scotland to the brink of independence in a historic referendum in 2014 before stepping down.

He is set to appear in court later on Thursday.

A staunch nationalist, Salmond resigned from the Scottish National Party last year after it emerged police were probing two harassment allegations against him.

He has fiercely denied the claims, which were formally raised with the Scottish government last January and date back to 2013 when he was still in office.

Salmond took legal action against the government -- now led by former party colleague Nicola Sturgeon -- over how it handled the complaints process against him in the case.

He won his judicial review earlier this month after the government conceded it had acted unlawfully while investigating the harassment claims against him.

However, Police Scotland last year launched their own separate investigation into the complaints, made by two female members of staff, leading to Thursday's arrest.