MSPs have rejected a call from the Scottish Greens to launch an investigation into Donald Trump’s business interests in Scotland.
Patrick Harvie wanted ministers to petition the Court of Session to issue an Unexplained Wealth Order (UWO) – a legal device which asks individuals to prove how they obtained certain assets.
The Scottish Greens co-leader has repeatedly called on Nicola Sturgeon to look into “serious and evidenced concerns” surrounding how the former US President purchased the luxury Turnberry golf resort in Ayrshire and the land required for his first Scottish development in Aberdeenshire.
But justice secretary Humza Yousaf said it would be an “abuse of power” if ministers directed prosecutors when it came to investigations.
The SNP minister said it was up to the Civil Recovery Unit – a branch of the Crown Office – to decide whether to launch a UWO against any individual.
An amendment moved by Yousaf – which said there “must not be political interference in the enforcement of the law” – was backed by SNP and Conservative MSPs.
Harvie had earlier told MSPs that Trump’s business connections to Scotland stretched back more than a decade.
“Even before Trump’s candidacy, or presidency, he was known around the world to be an untrustworthy, dishonest, racist, conspiracy theorist,” he said.
“This was never someone we should have wanted to associate Scotland’s good name with.”
Responding to his motion’s defeat, Harvie added: “Given the legal advice clearly shows that it is for the First Minister and her government to seek an unexplained wealth order as a civil action, it’s very disappointing to see ministers pass the buck like this.
“Unfortunately, today’s debate confirmed the Scottish Government remains unwilling to investigate Trump’s golf courses.
“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.”
Donald Trump’s son Eric yesterday hit out at the Holyrood debate on his father’s business interests in Scotland and said it could scare off other potential investors from overseas.
He told The Times: “Patrick Harvie is nothing more than a national embarrassment with his pathetic antics that only serve himself and his political agenda.
“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.”
-- to www.dailyrecord.co.uk