Scottish MSPs debate whether Trump's financing of golf resorts should be investigated

The Greens cite ‘serious concerns’ over the source of the Trump Organisation’s money

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Politicians are debating whether to issue an unexplained wealth order against former US president Donald Trump over his purchases of two golf courses in Scotland.

Eric Trump, one of Donald Trump’s sons, said the move was an attack based on “personal agendas” that ignore the economic benefits of the resorts in Ayrshire and Aberdeenshire.

But Scottish Green Party leader Patrick Harvie said there were “serious concerns” about the source of the money Donald Trump and the Trump Organisation used to buy them.

Unexplained wealth orders require people to explain the source of money used to acquire property and other assets in the UK, often when criminal activity is suspected.

“At a critical time when politicians should be focused on saving lives and reopening businesses in Scotland, they are focused on advancing their personal agendas,” said Eric Trump, executive vice president of the Trump Organisation.

AYR, SCOTLAND - JUNE 24:  Presumptive Republican nominee for US president Donald Trump cuts a ribbon on the 9th tee at his Trump Turnberry Resort surrounded by his family Eric Trump, Ivanka Trump, Donald Trump junior and granddaughter Kai Trump on June 24, 2016 in Ayr, Scotland. Mr Trump arrived to officially open his golf resort which has undergone an eight month refurbishment as part of an investment thought to be worth in the region of two hundred million pounds.  (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Eric Trump, left, with former US president Donald Trump, his daughter Ivanka and Donald Trump junior with hisdaughter Kai Trump at the course in Ayr. Getty

The Trump Organisation has two properties in Scotland; Turnberry, on the Ayrshire coast, and Trump International Golf Links, in Aberdeenshire.

“If Harvie and the rest of the Scottish government continue to treat overseas investors like this, it will deter future investors from conducting business in Scotland, ultimately crushing their economy, tourism and hospitality industries,” Eric Trump said.

“The Trump Organisation has invested hundreds of millions of dollars into the Scottish economy, rescued Turnberry and rebuilt it into one of the finest resorts anywhere in the world.

“In both Aberdeen and Turnberry, the Trump Organisation has created thousands of jobs and has made an overwhelming contribution to the leisure and tourism industry.”

Before the vote, one protestor outside the parliament building at Holyrood was wearing a giant Donald Trump mask and carrying a placard saying ‘Investigate me!”

He was also pulling a golf trolley and had his pockets stuffed with cash.

“As entertaining as Eric Trump’s tantrum is, he doesn’t say where his dad got the money to buy his Scottish golf courses, which is exactly why I’m calling on the Scottish Government to seek an unexplained wealth order,” Mr Harvie said.

“There are serious concerns about how he financed the cash purchases of his Scottish golf courses. The government must seek an unexplained wealth order to shine a light on Trump’s shadowy dealings.”

When Donald Trump visited Turnberry in 2018, thousands protested in Glasgow and Edinburgh and he was heckled as he played golf.

Last month, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon warned the outgoing president not to visit the country during the pandemic to play golf.

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After the unrest at the US Capitol on January 6, in which protesters demanded Donald Trump be declared the winner of the country’s election, the organisers of the British Open golf championship said the competition would not be staged at Turnberry for the “foreseeable future”.