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THE Scottish government has been pressed to use its powers to investigate US president Donald Trump’s purchase of an Ayrshire golf course.
At First Minister’s Questions in Holyrood today, Green MSP Patrick Harvie called for the SNP administration to seek an unexplained-wealth order (UWO) for the buyout of the Turnberry resort.
A report published last year by global activist group Avaaz outlines “serious financial misconduct” among Mr Trump’s “inner circle” during the period of his purchase of the course, with his former campaign manager also pleading guilty to money laundering.
UWOs, brought into force two years ago, allow Scottish ministers to instruct investigation of the finances of someone from outside the European Economic Area in a position of power that makes them liable to bribery or corruption.
Ministers would apply to the Court of Session for such an order to be put in place.
If the individual or their family cannot show a legitimate source for their riches, authorities can apply to seize the property.
Mr Harvie said that UWOs were designed “precisely for these kinds of situations,” urging SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon to take action.
He added: “Trump’s known sources of income do not explain where the money came from in these huge cash transactions.
“There are reasonable grounds for suspecting that his lawfully obtained income was insufficient.
“Trump is a politically exposed person in terms of the law, and there are reasonable grounds for suspecting that he, or people he is connected with, have been involved in serious crime.
“Scotland cannot be a country where anyone with the money can buy whatever land and property they want, no questions asked.”
The First Minister made clear that she was “no defender” of Mr Trump, adding that any matter of criminality surrounding the purchase of the golf courses was a matter for Police Scotland and the Crown Office.
Ms Sturgeon also pledged to look into the “serious” issue raised by Mr Harvie and get back to him in full.
The Morning Star understands that the original Avaaz report, which also urged the Scottish government to seek a UWO, was passed by ministers to the Crown Office in May 2019.
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