Scottish government facing new pressure to investigate Trump golf course purchases: report
Avaaz, a U.S.-based global activism group, has filed a petition in Scotland’s highest civil court asking for a review of the Scottish government’s recent decision to not seek an “unexplained wealth order” looking into former President Trump’s Scottish golf course, Reuters reports.
The petition from Avaaz was served to Scotland’s government on Monday.
The Scottish Parliament in February voted 89-32 against a motion to investigate Trump’s golf course, despite calls from lawmakers of the Green Party to ask for an unexplained wealth order.
In its petition, Avaaz alleged that the lawmakers who voted against the order did so due to a flawed legal interpretation, Reuters reports.
“Such a continued misapplication of the law would be contrary to the rule of law,” the group said.
An unexplained wealth order is a Scottish governmental measure that seeks to ensure the source of money used to make purchases in Scotland by overseas entities. It is meant to prevent criminal organizations from investing in the country.
Trump bought the golf course in 2006 during a real estate spending spree without making any indication that he had taken out a loan to make the purchases. If the source of the funds used to buy Trump’s golf course is unable to be verified, the Scottish government could confiscate the property.
As Reuters notes, Humza Yousaf, who was the Scottish justice secretary at the time of the vote, argued that unexplained wealth orders should be pursued by law enforcement and not politicians.
“There must not be political interference in the enforcement of the law,” Yousaf said.
However, Avaaz shot back at this reasoning and asked the Court of Session in Edinburgh, Scotland’s highest civil court, to rule that Scottish ministers have sole responsibility over unexplained wealth orders, Reuters reports. The group also argued that Scottish lawmakers were failing in their duties by not pursuing such an order, as a legal standard for pursuing one had been met by Trump.
“It raises eyebrows as to why Ministers are not availing themselves of this ability to put questions to the Trump Organization,” Nick Flynn, the legal director of Avaaz, told Reuters. “If Trump can’t explain the source of the money, then the Scottish government has the responsibility to take action.”