Donald Trump’s largest real estate interest—in terms of his personal financial interest—seems to be in Scotland. Specifically, the controversial golf resort. During Trump’s tenure as president of the United States, how the country tiptoed back and forth around this fact has been reported on a lot. Not long after Trump took office, the steady trickle of information pertaining to how much of a loser businessman included the Scottish golf resort’s falling revenues. Then there were questions regarding how certain government officials and agencies were possibly attempting to profit off of a relationship with Trump’s personal financial army.
But the number one question being asked in Scotland was, is, and always will be the same question that every person, place, and thing that ever comes into proximity with Trump and his interests will be asking: Did Donald Trump launder money through his Scottish golf clubs? Mother Jones reports that once again, yes once again, members of the Scottish Parliament are asking that their first minister call for an investigation into, and possibly action against, Trump and his shady business in their country.
Trump’s connection with international money launderers, and the never-ending stream of information connecting him with money laundering activities, along with his opaque financials is more than enough reason for there to be a serious investigation, according to Patrick Harvie, the co-leader of the country’s Green Party. “Now that Trump is set to lose immunity from prosecution in the U.S., he may be held to account there, isn’t it time he’s also held to account here? Isn’t it time for answers from the Trump Organization?” Harvie has repeatedly asked of Scottish National Party leader First Minister Nicolea Sturgeon to look into the matter.
From the beginning, Trump’s investments in Scotland have seemed unusual. As the self-proclaimed “King of Debt,” Trump has built almost all of his signature projects with other people’s money. His Scottish resorts appear to be funded with his own funds—but based on personal financial disclosures he has filed as president, it’s not clear how Trump has been able to generate that much cash. The recent series of articles by the New York Times, based on copies of Trump’s tax returns, suggest that Trump has used a variety of tactics—including some legally dubious ones—to bolster his liquidity, but Harvie says there hasn’t been sufficient explanation of how Trump is paying for Aberdeenshire and Turnberry.
Harvie’s Green Party have been pushing for First Minister Sturgeon to employ a governmental tool called an Unexplained Wealth Order (UWO). This tool is one that gives the Scottish government wide-ranging powers to investigate “politically exposed persons” whose finances seem dubious. UWOs have been used to expose European businessmen of dirty dealings and criminal behavior by forcing them to open up their books. And while it has been used very clearly in cases like Donald Trump’s, FM Sturgeon has seemed reticent to commit to holding Donald Trump accountable.
First Minister Sturgeon first hemmed and hawed, saying that she was no fan of Trump but not committing to anything else on the matter. Harvie told the BBC that it is Sturgeon’s obligation as first minister to root out corruptions like this one. “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.”
The Trump administration and its solicitors have attacked Harvie and others for playing politics and saying that Donald Trump has invested “hundreds of millions of dollars into” the Scottish economy. I’m guessing that while Harvie would take that bet and go to court, Donald Trump wouldn’t. I say this because Donald Trump is a con man and if our country, at some point, decides to finally hold the elite in our country accountable for breaking laws and abuses of power, I suspect Donald Trump and others will be in jail for the rest of their miserable days.
That’s a big if. Fingers crossed that the international community can give America a beacon to help direct us out of the dark times we are facing.