The chances of an investigation into Donald Trump’s $60m cash purchase of Turnberry have lessened after a judge issued a legal ruling yesterday.
The Court of Session had been considering the Scottish Government’s decision not to investigate the former US president’s 2014 purchase of the historic golf course.
Advocacy group Avaaz brought the case in February, after calls were rejected to pursue an Unexplained Wealth Order (UWO).
These enable prosecutors to require people or organisations to explain how they acquired assets. They have become known as ‘McMafia’ orders in reference to the TV series about organised crime.
However, yesterday the court in Edinburgh ruled that ministers did not have a duty to apply for UWOs against individuals.
Craig Sandison, the senior judge who issued the ruling, agreed with the Scottish Government that this responsibility could be delegated to the Lord Advocate instead.
Lord Advocate Dorothy Bain could still initiate a UWO against Trump, though to date there have been no signs that she will.
“The law may have been clarified, but a cloud of suspicion still hangs over Trump’s purchase of Turnberry,” stated Nick Flynn, legal director at Avaaz.
“By any measure, the threshold to pursue a UWO to investigate the purchase has easily been crossed.
“The Lord Advocate should take urgent action in the interest of the rule of law and transparency, and demand a clear explanation of where the $60m used to buy Turnberry came from.”
Scottish Green Party finance spokesperson Ross Greer responded: “We are keen to see progress on this matter and hope the new Lord Advocate recognises the growing awareness and action across the world on the former President’s finances.
“The case for a similar investigation in Scotland is compelling. Scotland must have a zero-tolerance approach to potential financial crime, regardless of the suspect.”
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