The Press and Journal (Inverness, Highlands, and Islands)
Court backs review of why SNP blocked Trump funds probe
Scotland’s highest civil court will allow a review of the SNP Government’s decision to knock back calls for a so-called McMafia probe into Donald Trump’s wealth.
The ex US President has two courses in Scotland – at the Menie Estate on the Aberdeenshire coast and at Turnberry in Ayrshire.
Scottish Greens had demanded First Minister Nicola Sturgeon use an Unexplained Wealth Order to get to the bottom of where his money came from.
But she rejected the call, prompting a US-based human rights group, Avaaz, to seek a legal challenge.
The Court of Session, in an opinion published by Lord Sandison, gave permission to Avaaz yesterday to seek a full judicial review of the decision not to pursue the order.
Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie welcomed the move.
“I’m glad we are a step forward in getting some clarity over why Trump’s business dealings in Scotland haven’t been investigated,” Mr Harvie said.
“It should never have got to the stage of a legal challenge from an NGO for the Scottish Government to confirm or deny whether they will seek a McMafia order.
“Scotland’s reputation is at stake, and it is entirely within the powers of ministers to defend it.”
Mr Trump bought the site at Menie on heavily protected dunes. It led to a bitter planning which ended Holyrood.
His course in Aberdeenshire turned in a seventh successive loss, according to reports at the start of this year.
Sarah Malone, executive vice-president at Trump International Scotland, said last night: “This is political game-playing at its worst and a terrible waste of taxpayers’ money which further damages Scotland’s reputation as a serious country to invest in and do business.
“We have developed and operate two globally acclaimed, multi-awardwinning, visitor destinations in Scotland and make a significant contribution to the Scottish leisure and tourism economy.”
“Scotland’s reputation is at stake and it is entirely within the powers of ministers to defend it