MSPs reject calls for probe into Donald Trump golf courses

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Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Eric Trump (left) with Donald and family at the opening of Trump Turnberry

Members of the Scottish Parliament have voted to reject calls for Donald Trump's business interests in Scotland to be investigated.

The Scottish Greens had wanted the Trump Organisation's golf courses probed via an unexplained wealth order.

It requires individuals to explain the source of wealth used to acquire property and other assets in the UK.

Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf said it would be an abuse of power for MSPs to tell prosecutors what to investigate.

The Scottish Greens motion at the Scottish Parliament was successfully amended by Mr Yousaf with the backing of SNP and Conservative MSPs to instead say there "must not be political interference in the enforcement of the law".

The bid by the Greens to have Scottish ministers petition the Court of Session to issue an unexplained wealth order into Mr Trump's purchase of the Turnberry golf resort and his development at Menie in Aberdeenshire had been supported by Labour and the Liberal Democrats.

Speaking ahead the debate, Mr Trump's son Eric Trump warned that the move could deter overseas investors.

Eric Trump, who is a trustee and executive vice-president of the Trump Organization, said: "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.

"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."

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Donald Trump visits his Aberdeenshire golf resort in 2016

Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie said there were "serious concerns" about how Donald Trump financed the cash purchases of his Scottish golf courses.

Mr Harvie said: "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."

He latter criticised SNP and Conservatives MSPs for blocking his bid.

Mr Harvie added: "Scotland cannot be a country where anyone with the money can buy whatever land and property they want, no questions asked, and the Scottish Greens will continue to challenge vested interests that protect people like Trump rather than our communities."

'Nonsense'

But Sarah Malone, executive vice president of Trump International Scotland, described the debate as an "utter waste of parliamentary time" and accused Mr Harvie of "grandstanding".

She added: "We thank those MSPs who rejected this nonsense and will, hopefully, now focus on getting the nation vaccinated and all of us - including businesses - back to work and back to normality as soon as possible."

A Scottish government spokesman said earlier this week: "Any decision on whether to apply to the Court of Session for an unexplained wealth order is made on behalf of Scottish ministers by the Civil Recovery Unit (CRU) which reports to the Lord Advocate."