Alex Salmond, Scotland’s Former First Minister, Is Arrested

LONDON — Alex Salmond, the former first minister of Scotland who for years led a campaign for Scottish independence, has been arrested and charged with an unspecified crime, the authorities said on Thursday.

Police Scotland began investigating Mr. Salmond, 64, after the Scottish government looked into complaints by two women who said he had sexually harassed them several years ago, which he denies. But the outcome of the government’s inquiry was not made public, and the police and prosecutors declined to say on Thursday whether his arrest this week was linked to those accusations.

It is not clear what charge or charges he faces.

Asked about the case, Police Scotland said in a statement, “We can confirm that a 64-year-old man has been arrested and charged, and a report will be sent to the procurator fiscal,” referring to a public prosecutor.

Mr. Salmond has called the sexual harassment accusations “patently ridiculous” and has challenged the Scottish government’s process for investigating the complaints.

“I have made many mistakes in my life, political and personal, but I have not sexually harassed anyone and I certainly have not been engaged in criminality,” he said in a BBC interview last year.

Mr. Salmond won a legal victory in his dispute with the Scottish government over its investigation. The government admitted that it had violated its guidelines in assigning an investigating officer to the case who had previously been involved in the complaints process.

A government lawyer said the investigating officer had some contact with the complainants before being assigned to the case, which could have created an appearance of potential bias. But the legal dispute did not lead to any public findings about the substance of the accusations.

Mr. Salmond resigned as first minister and leader of the pro-independence Scottish National Party in 2014, after a referendum in which a majority of Scottish voters rejected proposals for independence from Britain.

But he has remained vocal about the possibility of a second independence referendum, urging his successor and onetime protégée, Nicola Sturgeon, to call for another vote. The two, who were once allies, have fallen out over the sexual harassment investigation.

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