Scotland's first minister should use Unexplained Wealth Orders (UWOs) to find out exactly how Donald Trump paid for his golf resorts in the country, says another MSP.
Patrick Harvie, co-leader of the Scottish Green Party, pointed out that the US Congress's investigation into Trump's dealings mentioned the possibility that he was using properties including his Turnberry golf resort in Ayrshire for money laundering. He said there are still "big questions" about the sources of the president's wealth.
Donald's son Eric Trump fired back by saying Harvie has "long expressed deep-seated animus to the Trump Organisation" and said his "disgusting statements" were "reckless, irresponsible and unbecoming for a member of the Scottish Parliament." Unbecoming! Me-ow!
Claiming that Harvie's concerns have "no basis in fact," Trump The Younger also pointed out that the Trump Organisation has "invested hundreds of millions of dollars in Scotland while creating thousands of jobs."
Honestly, "we've run hundreds of millions through your country" is not a great response to an accusation of money laundering. The company apparently spent around £150m on the Turnberry resort alone in its first two years since purchase in 2014. It also has a course in Balmedie, Aberdeenshire, purchased in 2012.
Executive VP of Trump International (Scotland) Sarah Malone added in typical Trump-esque fashion:
"This attention seeking behaviour is not what is expected of a responsible elected member of Scottish Parliament.
Is this seriously how Scotland treats its inward investors? The Trump Organisation has invested hundreds of millions of dollars into our economy and this sort of garbage is seriously harmfully to future inward investment."
There's that "hundreds of millions" again.
Unexplained Wealth Orders are a relatively new legal way for UK courts to force someone to explain where their money came from. The first one was issued by a UK court in 2018 to Zamira Hajiyeva, who famously spent sixteen million pounds in Harrods. (Reports she purchased a sandwich and a drink are said to be inaccurate).
The UWO, also known as the "McMafia Law," is designed to hold corrupt foreign nationals to account if it's suspected they're using the UK to launder money.
"Trump's known sources of income don't explain where the money came from for these huge cash transactions.
There are reasonable grounds for suspecting that his lawfully obtained income was insufficient.
Scottish ministers can apply via the Court of Session for an unexplained wealth order, a tool designed for precisely these kinds of situations."
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon replied making it clear that while she's "no defender of Donald Trump, of his politics or any of his other dealings," she would need the full facts before making a response to his claims.
The BBC reports that a spokesperson for Sturgeon said a request for a UWO was already with the Lord Advocate for consideration, after submission last year by campaigners.
Main image: Gregory Stewart via Flickr Creative Commons