Advocates for a global activist organization are maintaining pressure for “McMafia” legislation in Scotland to force former President Donald Trump to divulge the sources of his cash-only purchases and the development of his two Scottish golf resorts.
The attorneys cite ongoing investigations and recent New York prosecutor’s charges against the Trump organization as part of a new push to investigate Trump’s clubs in Aberdeenshire and Ayrshire.
“The matters set out in the petition show that there are real and significant concerns about the financial arrangements of the Trump Organization, of which Mr. Trump is sole or principal owner,” said Kay Springham, an attorney for the US-based nonprofit Avaaz , argued in a virtual hearing in Scotland’s highest civil court last week, The Scotsman reported.
Springham then highlighted the charges filed in Manhattan last month against the Trump organization and its chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg. Prosecutors alleged they were defrauding a 15-year tax program to defraud the city, state, and federal government by obscuring the salaries of top managers. A grand jury indictment said Weisselberg had hidden more than $ 1.7 million of his own income. The company and Weißelberg pleaded not guilty on all counts.
It is widely believed that the charges are the first of others likely to be brought against the company and officers.
Avaaz first filed a petition in May to pursue an “Unexplained Wealth Order” against Trump’s companies under the so-called “McMafia Act” passed in 2018 to investigate financial crimes such as money laundering, which is often carried out by the mob.
Springham is seeking to extend the three-month period to bring a full case to court and is advocating the order after the Scottish Parliament voted against a Green motion in February to force Trump to reveal the sources of his money.
Judge Lord Sandison said they passed the test required by law on the issues raised in the petition so that he was convinced that “there is enough to have reasonable reasoning” about the matters set out in the petition. The Scot reported. However, he still has to decide on the extension of the deadline for submitting the full case.
Trump sparked suspicions when he bought land in Aberdeenshire in 2006 and then the Turnberry Resort in cash-only transactions in 2014, at a time when he was seriously cash tied and couldn’t find banks willing to lend him money.
Trump’s Scottish resorts have yet to make a declared profit – despite the millions of dollars he has pumped into them. The resorts lost about $ 75 million in eight years through 2019, according to the Trump Organization.
You haven’t paid the Scottish government a cent in taxes. In fact, Trump’s resorts raised around $ 800,000 in Covid-19 subsidies from UK taxpayers.
Trump bought more than 1,000 acres in Aberdeenshire in 2006 for more than $ 10 million. According to company records, he spent at least $ 60 million more building a golf course, hotels and cottages. The Trump organization has stated in statements and filings that it spent more than $ 140 million on the complex in total, Reuters noted.
Tracking down the money in the former president’s Scottish resorts is difficult because Trump is the creditor of his own businesses, which means payment for many of the resorts’ costs goes straight back to the Trump organization.
This circular flow of money within the Trump network provides an opportunity for money laundering, suggested New York business journalist Adam Davidson. He called the resorts “money disappearing” operations.
Trump “owns the asset, borrows the money, owes the money, owes the money,” Davidson said. “Trump borrows millions every year, spends all that money on something, and claims the asset is worth all of the money he’s spent.”