28 Feb 2020
Scotland’s first minister has been urged to use unexplained wealth orders to investigate how Donald Trump paid for his Scottish golf resorts.
Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie said the US Congress had heard concerns about possible money laundering involving some of the president’s business deals.
He claimed there were “big questions” over Mr Trump’s dealings in Scotland.
Mr Trump’s son Eric said the claims had “no basis in fact”.
He accused Mr Harvie of making “disgusting statements” that were “reckless, irresponsible and unbecoming for a member of the Scottish Parliament”.
And he said the Green politician had “long expressed deep-seated animus to the Trump Organisation”, which he said had “invested hundreds of millions of dollars in Scotland while creating thousands of jobs”.
Donald Trump opened his controversial golf course on the Menie estate in Aberdeenshire in 2012, before purchasing the Turnberry golf resort in Ayrshire in 2014 – into which the Trump Organisation claimed to have invested about £150m within the first two years.
An inquiry by the House of Representatives into allegations about possible links between Mr Trump and Russia heard allegations that Turnberry may have been used for money laundering – a claim that Mr Trump has always strongly denied.
Speaking in the Scottish Parliament on Thursday, Mr Harvie said the purchase of Menie and the Turnberry golf resort were part of Mr Trump’s “huge cash spending spree in the midst of a global financial crisis”.
Mr Harvie said that the House of Representatives had heard testimony which stated: “We saw patterns of buying and selling that we thought were suggestive of money laundering” – with particular concern expressed about Mr Trump’s golf courses in Scotland and Ireland.
He added: “Trump’s known sources of income don’t explain where the money came from for these huge cash transactions.
“There are reasonable grounds for suspecting that his lawfully obtained income was insufficient.
“Scottish ministers can apply via the Court of Session for an unexplained wealth order, a tool designed for precisely these kinds of situations.”
The orders can be issued by the courts to compel their target to reveal the source of funding, and are often used to tackle suspected international money laundering.
Read more at BBC News
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