Former Scottish first minister Alex Salmond has been charged with multiple counts of sexual assault and two of attempted rape.
The Crown Office listed nine counts of sexual assault, two of indecent assault and one breach of the peace.
After appearing at Edinburgh Sheriff Court, Salmond said he is “innocent of any criminality” and that he will “defend himself to the utmost”.
In a statement outside court, Salmond said: “Let me say from the outset, I am innocent of any criminality whatsoever.
“Now that these proceedings, criminal proceedings are live, it is even more important to respect the court.
“And therefore, the only thing that I can say is I refute absolutely these allegations of criminality and I will defend myself to the utmost in court.
“I’ve got great faith in the court system in Scotland.”
Scottish Parliament presiding officer Ken Macintosh told MSPs prior to First Minister’s Questions: “Members will be aware of reports in the media this morning that the former first minister Alex Salmond has been arrested.
“As I hope members will also be aware, and as applies with all such matters, that means that parliamentary rules on sub-judice apply as this case is now active.”
Salmond’s successor Nicola Sturgeon learned of the arrest from media reports on Thursday morning, sources said. It is understood she has not spoken to the former first minister since July 2018.
Salmond, from Linlithgow, West Lothian, was Scotland’s first minister from 2007 to 2014.
He resigned his membership of the SNP in August 2018.
Salmond guided the party to a narrow Scottish election win in 2007 and then led a minority government as he became Scotland’s first SNP first minister.
In the 2011 election, he led the party to an unprecedented victory with a majority win, meaning the SNP’s manifesto pledge to hold an independence referendum could be delivered.
But the result of the 2014 referendum – a 55% to 45% vote to stay in the UK – led to him stepping down as first minister and SNP leader.