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Police probe alleged fraud at Scottish Qualifications Authority

By Andrew Picken
BBC Scotland News

image copyrightPA

A police investigation has been launched into an alleged internal financial fraud at the Scottish Qualifications Authority.

The probe relates to the quango's Glasgow office and the allegation is understood to involve a six-figure sum of money.

The SQA said a "suspected case of financial irregularity" had been referred to the police.

Police Scotland was first made aware of the fraud claims in June last year.

The SQA's latest accounts refer to an "instance of suspected financial irregularity" and the 2017-18 report also highlights two cases of suspected financial irregularity which were under investigation internally.

A Police Scotland spokeswoman said the force had "received reports of possible fraudulent activities linked to a business in Glasgow".

She added: "The circumstances are currently being investigated and no further comment will be made until this is complete."

A spokesman for the SQA said: "A suspected case of financial irregularity has been referred to Police Scotland for investigation.

"It would be inappropriate for us to comment further."

Meanwhile, in a separate development, the authority has been forced to disclose details about the travel expenses of senior executives after the Sunday Mail raised the matter with the Scottish Information Commissioner.

The SQA had argued publishing such details would put the security of its travelling staff at risk but the commissioner ruled publication was in the public interest.

The paper's investigation highlighted a number of trips, including one for three executives to Saudi Arabia in 2015 which cost £17,000.

It reportedly involved business class flights and a stay at "one of the most luxurious hotels in the world".

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