- A Scottish lawmaker has said President Donald Trump should be forced to explain how he bought two Scottish golf courses, according to the BBC.
- The Scottish Greens coleader Patrick Harvie has asked First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to use an unexplained-wealth order to get Trump to reveal how he paid for the properties.
- The order forces a target to reveal the source of any “unexplained” income. If the source is deemed illegitimate, the properties could be seized.
- Sturgeon did not commit to issuing such an order and said she would need more information first.
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A Scottish lawmaker has called on the country’s government to use new laws to force President Donald Trump to explain how he bought two golf courses in Scotland, the BBC reported Thursday.
Patrick Harvie, a coleader of the Scottish Greens in the Scottish Parliament, urged First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to employ so-called unexplained-wealth orders to find out more about Trump’s finances.
Harvie said Sturgeon should issue the orders to demand that Trump explain how he was able to pay for the Menie Estate in Aberdeenshire and the Turnberry golf resort in Ayrshire.
Representatives for Trump denied that the golf courses were improperly acquired and said Harvie’s call was motivated by bias.
Unexplained-wealth orders are a new investigative power in the UK. Introduced in 2018, they are deployed mostly to investigate assets authorities believe are linked to organized crime or corruption.
In most of the UK, they can be activated only by regulators or branches of the police, but in Scotland they can be ordered directly by government ministers.
The subject of an order has to provide authorities with an explanation of how he or she came to own an asset. If the authorities are not satisfied, they can attempt to have it frozen or seized by the courts.
The golf courses in question were purchased in 2012 and 2014. Harvie said Trump bought the properties “in the midst of a global financial crisis” and said it was still unclear how he was able to pay for them.
According to the BBC, Harvie argued that Trump’s known sources of income “don’t explain where the money came from for these huge cash transactions” and were therefore “reasonable grounds” for suspicion.
An unexplained-wealth order would make Trump reveal the source of the money spent on the properties.
The call for this investigation came after Harvie said the US Congress “had heard concerns about possible money laundering involving some of the president’s business deals,” the BBC said.
The BBC reported that Trump’s son Eric said the claims were untrue and argued that Scotland’s Green Party had always hated the Trump Organization.
Neither the Trump Organization nor the White House replied to Business Insider’s requests for comment at the time of publication.
Sarah Malone, the executive vice president of Trump International in Scotland, said that Harvie’s claims were baseless and that he was seeking attention.
Sturgeon said that while she was not a “defender” or Trump or his policies, she needed more information before she could address Harvie’s request.