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Ex-leader of Scotland is reportedly arrested

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By Saphora Smith and Reuters and Associated Press  with NBC News World News
Image: Former First Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond speaks to the media f
Former Scottish leader Alex Salmond has recently been accused of inappropriate behavior dating back to 2013.   -   Copyright  Russell Cheyne

LONDON — One of Scotland's former leaders has reportedly been arrested and charged.

NBC News' British partner ITV News and Comcast-owned U.K. broadcaster Sky Newsreported that ex-First Minister Alex Salmond was expected to appear in court later Thursday.

Salmond is a former leader of Scotland's devolved government and is credited with helping to increase support for Scottish independence from the United Kingdom.

When asked about the reports, Scottish police said in a statement: "We can confirm a 64-year-old man has been arrested and charged."

Police declined to identify the man or detail what offences he has been accused of committing before the court appearance.

Salmond, 64, is a member of the ruling Scottish National Party and served as the country's first minister for seven years until 2014.

He was a key proponent of Scottish independence from the U.K. in the 2014 referendum campaign. The country eventually voted decisively to stay in the U.K. with 55 percent voting to remain and 45 percent supporting independence.

Last year, Salmond wasaccused of two instances of inappropriate behavior dating back to 2013 when he was still the leader of the government.

The complaints were made in January in the wake of "wider concerns about harassment" in British politics, the Scottish government's most senior official, Leslie Evans, said in a statement released last August.

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Salmond has denied the accusations made against him as well as any criminal conduct.

Earlier this month, he won a legal case against the Scottish government's handling of its investigation into the harassment claims. The government admitted acting unlawfully while investigating the claims.

His victory was only to do with the fairness of the inquiry. The police investigation into the allegations is separate.