- A new legal challenge is seeking an investigation into Donald Trump’s all-cash purchase of two Scottish golf courses.
- Human rights group Avaaz wants the Scottish government to reverse their earlier decision not to investigate their funding.
- Lawmakers have questioned how the courses were funded solely in cash, given the former president’s debts.
- If successful, the challenge could force the government to seek an “unexplained wealth order” into the courses, with the power to potentially seize them from Trump.
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Donald Trump faces fresh scrutiny over how he financed the all-cash purchase of his two Scottish golf courses after a legal challenge was filed this week attempting to force the Scottish government to launch an official investigation.
If successful, the challenge could force the Scottish government to reverse their earlier decision not to investigate the source of their funding, with the possibility of the courses ultimately being seized if their funding cannot be satisfactorily explained.
The Scottish Green Party first introduced calls for a so-called Unexplained Wealth Order [UWO] back in February, amid questions about how Trump managed to finance their purchase.
UWOs were brought in by the UK government in 2018 to allow investigations of money laundering and other criminal financial activity.
They can in the most extreme circumstances result in the confiscation of illegally acquired UK assets, although such an outcome is rare.
Patrick Harvie, the Greens co-leader, said the unusual pattern of spending, as well as ongoing civil and criminal probes into Trump’s financial conduct in the United States, provided grounds for an investigation.
“The purchase of Menzie and the Turnberry golf resort were part of Trump’s huge cash spending spree in the midst of a global financial crisis,” Harvie told Scottish Parliament in February.
Questions have been growing about how Trump managed to purchase the courses solely in cash.
Trump spent a large part of his career acquiring real estate using borrowed money and described himself in interviews as the “king of debt.”
But he acquired his two Scottish golf resorts – at Turnberry near Glasgow and Menie in Aberdeenshire – using only cash, and has spent at least $300 million developing them.
Trump’s golf courses lose millions of dollars every year, raising further questions about their funding.
Despite these questions, Scottish ministers opposed the petition for a UWO in February, saying that law officers, not politicians, should approve or reject the introduction of UWOs.
Avaaz, a human rights group have now filed a petition in Scotland’s Court of Session seeking a review of the Scottish government’s decision not to investigate, Reuters reported.
Avaaz in its legal petition argued that lawmakers had misinterpreted the law by refusing to investigate.
They argue that Scotland’s ministers, not its law officers, are responsible for determining whether such investigations should proceed.
The petition filed by Avaaz was filed on Monday, per Reuters. If the court agrees with Avaaz the Scottish government could either agree to proceed with an Unexplained Wealth Order or it could seek again to reject the ruling with a new legal argument.
Insider contacted the Scottish government and the Trump Organisation for comment.