Trump's Scottish golf courses could be seized by the government under a plan to force him to reveal their funding

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Thomas Colson
·3 min read
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Trump Scotland
Donald Trump. Getty
  • Lawmakers in Scotland want Trump to explain how he funded his lavish golf courses there.

  • Parliament will vote on whether to ask the first minister to push for an "unexplained wealth order."

  • UWOs require people to explain the source of their wealth or risk having their assets seized.

  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Scotland's Parliament is set to vote on Wednesday on a motion calling for Donald Trump to explain how he paid for his lavish Scottish golf courses - part of an order that could ultimately lead the government to seize the courses.

The motion asks First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to issue an "unexplained wealth order" requiring Trump to explain how he paid for Turnberry and Trump International Scotland, his two luxury golf clubs in Scotland, or risk having them seized.

The so-called "McMafia" powers, introduced in the UK in 2018, allow ministers to require a person to explain the source of their wealth if there are reasonable grounds to believe they acquired properties in the UK through illicit means. If the person fails to explain the source of their wealth, those properties can be confiscated.

Patrick Harvie, a co-leader of the Scottish Green Party, said the action would challenge the government to "hold Trump's business dealings accountable." Harvie is an opposition MP who sits among five Scottish Greens colleagues in Holyrood.

Trump's global network of golf clubs has consistently posted huge losses. Last year, a bombshell New York Times investigation into his taxes found that his 15 golf courses, including the two in Scotland, had lost $315.6 million since 2000.

The Scottish Green Party said that there were "serious questions around the legality of Donald Trump's investments in Scotland" and that the investigations he faces in the US over his business dealings meant he should also face scrutiny in Scotland.

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The vote is nonbinding, meaning it cannot compel Sturgeon to act. Scotland's government has previously insisted that only the lord advocate, the country's most senior legal official, can initiate unexplained wealth orders against individuals.

However, the Scottish Greens have said that legal advice published by the campaign group Avaaz indicates that Sturgeon herself can seek a UWO.

The party has also said that if the motion passes, it will put pressure on Sturgeon to follow through on Parliament's demand.

A Scottish government representative said in a statement: "Any decision on whether to apply to the Court of Session for an Unexplained Wealth Order is made on behalf of Scottish Ministers by the Civil Recovery Unit [CRU] which reports to the Lord Advocate.

"This decision-making process is an operational matter for the CRU. It would not be appropriate for the Scottish Government to comment on this."

Eric Trump, the former president's son and the vice president of the Trump Organization, which owns the courses, said Harvie's behavior would deter prospective investors in Scotland.

"Patrick Harvie is nothing more than a national embarrassment with his pathetic antics that only serve himself and his political agenda," he said in a statement cited by The Guardian.

Read the original article on Business Insider