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Russell Findlay is an investigations journalist reporting on law, politics, health, business and crime. He is also the author of non-fiction books. After 25 years with various newspapers he can now be found at STV News
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Drug dealer busted with £300,000 of cocaine is behind a drone company which has been bankrolled with taxpayers' cash ... Kieran Hope's firm won funding from the Oil and Gas Technology Centre ... But critics say it is 'unacceptable' to keep details secret from the public

A DRUG dealer caught with £300,000 worth of cocaine in a police organised crime operation has been given taxpayers’ money to grow his drone business.
Kieran Hope, 29, was handed a three-year prison sentence in 2014 and two years later launched Air Control Entech (ACE) which uses drones to conduct inspections in the oil and gas industry.
A year later, he secured backing from The Oil & Gas Technology Centre (OGTC) which is funded by the Scottish and UK governments, academia and industry.
There are no rules against convicted criminals from receiving public money but concerns have been raised over the OGTC’s refusal to disclose how much it gave to Hope’s firm.





In response to STV News, they said that all such deals are subject to ‘non disclosure agreements’ (NDA) which are typically used in legal agreements to protect commercially sensitive information.
NDAs came in for criticism when high street retail tycoon Sir Philip Green used them to gag female employees who accused him of wrongdoing,…

Police Scotland's former chief constable allegedly told to 'hire a Scot' as his deputy ... Phil Gormley warned there would be 'political problems' if he did not ... The order left him 'deeply troubled' ... But what did PIRC and the SPA do about the discrimination claim? ... SNP government ministers face questions about alleged meddling in policing

FORMER chief constable Phil Gormley was warned there could be ‘political problems’ if a Scottish candidate was not hired as one of his deputies.
The former head of Police Scotland claims that the order came from Andrew Flanagan, then chairman of the Scottish Police Authority (SPA), during a discussion about a vacant post for a deputy chief constable.
During the meeting last September, Gormley was allegedly told ‘there would be major presentational and political problems if either of the two internal (Scottish) candidates were passed over given how this would impact on the proportion of senior officers who were of Scottish national origin’.
In a document seen by The Times newspaper, Gormley said: “He [Flanagan] indicated that Scottish Government were party to these concerns. As a senior officer of English national origin myself, this concerned me. The national origin of any candidate (from within the United Kingdom) should have no bearing on the selection process.
“This issue and the very …

How did 'superhuman' SNP health minister manage to work 376 days in a year? Quango queen turned MSP Jeane Freeman asked to explain how she took so much taxpayers' cash from the NHS and other public bodies ...

HEALTH secretary Jeane Freeman has been urged to explain her ‘superhuman’ work record after she spent more days on quangos than there are in a year.
The SNP politician has been dubbed Scotland’s ‘quango queen’ due to the large number of posts she held with public bodies before becoming an MSP.
But she now faces questions over how much taxpayers’ money she received in the financial year 2013/14.
Our probe found that she pocketed £57,000 as a member of the Scottish Police Authority which works out at £300 for 190 days.
During the same period, she worked three days per week on the NHS National Waiting Time Centre board in Clydebank whose annual accounts show she received up to £25,000.
She also served between 20 to 30 days with the Judicial Appointments Board for Scotland at a rate of  £295 per day.
If the public records are accurate, they suggest that Freeman spent up to 376 days on the public payroll during that year.
In addition, she also ran her own public affairs consultancy firm Freeman A…

JUDGES FOR SALE: Special investigation into top lawmen being lured with big money jobs in Qatar and the UAE ... Lord McGhie has been with Abu Dhabi court for past two years while ALSO sitting in the Court of Session in Edinburgh ... Veteran human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, cross-party MSPs and Dubai torture victim accuse them of legitimising despotic regimes ...

TOP judges are accused of selling the reputation of Scottish justice by working for Middle East countries with toxic human rights records.
Two judges are on the payroll of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) where domestic violence against women is legal and where regime critics are tortured and jailed without trial.
The most senior is Lord Hope of Craighead — Scotland’s former top judge, a member of the House of Lords and ex-deputy president of the UK Supreme Court.
Our investigation found that Lord McGhie has been registered to sit in the UAE for the past two years while he was also dispensing justice at the Court of Session in Edinburgh.
Veteran human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell said: "It seems highly inappropriate for Scotland's previous top judge and former deputy president of the UK Supreme Court to work for the UAE given its poor human rights record.
“He is giving legitimacy to the UAE's legal system which does not conform to international standards and is accused of su…