A Scottish parliamentary committee says First Minister Nicola Sturgeon misled it over evidence she gave about her handling of sexual harassment complaints, a potential breach of the ministerial code of conduct.
The findings come the day after an independent inquiry by a senior lawyer concluded she had not broken the code in any of her dealings with her predecessor Alex Salmond, the subject of complaints by several women.
The parliamentary committee says in its report that the Scottish government's handling of complaints was "seriously flawed".
A narrow majority of its members concluded it was hard to believe Sturgeon had no knowledge of concerns about Salmond's inappropriate behaviour before November 2017 and suggested she had misled the committee.
Members of Sturgeon's Scottish National Party (SNP) disagreed with this conclusion.
The fiercely disputed issue of how Sturgeon and her administration dealt with the complaints against Salmond has upended Scottish politics at a time when the stakes could hardly be higher, with the nation's future hanging in the balance.
Elections to the Scottish parliament are due in May and Sturgeon has vowed to press for a second independence on independence from the United Kingdom if the SNP wins an absolute majority.
It was expected to do so before the Salmond row blew up but the latest polls suggest the outcome of the elections looks far less certain now, with Sturgeon's popularity dented by a stream of negative headlines about the Salmond affair.
Salmond and Sturgeon were once close friends and allies in the cause of Scottish independence, but their vitriolic falling out has jeopardised that cause at a time when it looked like the political momentum was in its favour.
Tuesday's verdict by the parliamentary committee will cause Sturgeon ongoing political headaches but appears unlikely to put her job at risk after the endorsement on Monday from the independent lawyer who investigated her conduct.
Sturgeon has already dismissed the parliamentary committee as partisan.