President Donald Trump will face “due accountability” if evidence is found linking his Scottish golf resorts to money laundering or other financial fraud, the leader of the Scottish government said this week.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon spoke out Wednesday in Parliament in response to a call from the co-leader of the Scottish Green Party to seek an “unexplained wealth order” to determine the source of funding for Trump’s $60 million cash purchase of his Trump Turnberry golf resort in 2014, when his U.S. tax returns showed vast losses that allowed him to avoid paying any income taxes. Trump also owns the Trump Aberdeen resort in Scotland.
The Scotish leader said she wouldn’t protect “the soon-to-be former president of the United States” from “due accountability in Scotland” if wrongdoing is found. An investigation, including an unexplained wealth order, would be up to the Crown Office, the independent public prosecution system in Scotland, Sturgeon added.
Green Party leader Patrick Harvie has contended Trump’s Scottish resorts raise suspicions because neither Turnberry (which lost $26 million in 2016) nor Aberdeen has turned a profit or paid a penny in taxes to Scotland since Trump purchased them. All of the revenue is allegedly absorbed by costs — with many of the expenses flowing back to the president’s Trump Organization.
“We need to protect Scotland’s good name from association with the toxic Trump brand,” Harvie said in Parliament. Harvie also noted Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.’s ongoing investigation of the Trump Organization for possible bank and insurance fraud.
— Scottish Greens (@scotgp) November 12, 2020
Trump has stonewalled investigations by Vance and Congress into his finances, contending his job as president shields him from U.S. prosecution and lawsuits. Harvie noted Trump’s election defeat should expose him to a reckoning in Scotland as well.
Scottish Greens UWO statement: "We can't continue to turn a blind eye to red flags that surround [Trump's] biz activities in Scotland, sending a signal to not just Trump himself but those who may be lured by our relaxed approach towards investigating possible financial crimes"
— Martyn McLaughlin (@MartynMcL) November 12, 2020
Harvie first leveled his money laundering suspicions in February, when he referred to Trump’s “huge cash spending spree” in Scotland at a time when he was declaring bankruptcy on his casino business and defaulting on a Deutsche Bank loan.
The president son, Eric Trump, fired back at the time: “Mr Harvie’s disgusting statements, made without any supporting evidence and having absolutely no basis in fact, are reckless, irresponsible and unbecoming for a member of the Scottish Parliament.”
The president told British authorities in 2018 that his two Scottish golf resorts were $65 million in debt and paid no taxes in the U.K. But his U.S. financial disclosures at the same time reported the resorts were worth $100 million.
Check out Harvie and Sturgeon’s comments in the video up top. Harvie begins to talk about Trump at 28:40.