Trump’s Scotland golf courses put to the test

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Trump's Scotland golf courses put to the test

In 2006, Donald Trump bought 1,000 acres of land near Aberdeen, Scotland through his Trump organization. He then built a golf course there and later claimed he spent over $ 140 million on the entire project.

In 2014, two years before Donald Trump became US President, he made a more similar, but larger, purchase by purchasing the famous Turnberry golf course and renaming it Trump Turnberry. Turnberry has long been one of the few golf courses to be included in the rotation of the (British) Open. Records show that Trump paid $ 60 million for it and the resort that goes with it. Then he upgraded the property by spending an additional $ 100 million, all in cash.

In 2014 and several years before that, Donald Trump paid no taxes on his US tax returns and declared some significant financial losses. Hence, people have been wondering how the seemingly scarce Trump organization got so much money to pay for the Turnberry property and its improvements. Some have claimed it was because Trump was conducting illegal money laundering with Russian oligarchs.

In fact, Trump’s son Eric, who ran the Trump Organization while his father was US President, once publicly and fairly casually admitted that most of the funds for the Trump Organization’s purchases came from Russia. In the past few years, the Trump organization has lost money from these two investments.

In 2018 the Scottish Government introduced a provision called the Unexplained Wealth Order. It was particularly directed against organized crime and drug trafficking. Avaas, a US-based activism group, petitioned the Scottish courts to initiate an investigation into how the Trump Organization is buying these two properties. Earlier this year, under pressure, the Scottish Parliament voted against opening such an investigation.

On Wednesday, a Scottish judge ruled in favor of the Avaas petition, initiating an investigation into these Trump purchases in accordance with the Unexplained Wealth Order, also known colloquially as the “McMafia Order”. If the Trump Organization does not cooperate in disclosing the requested information, these two golf properties will revert to their original owners. And when that happens, Trump’s critics appear to have been right – he was laundering money with perhaps Russian oligarchs to buy these properties. And if that happens, could private citizen Donald Trump be charged with crimes?

PS: Shortly after the Capitol Rebellion instigated by President Donald Trump on January 6th of this year, the Royal and Ancient Golf Club, which controls The Open, announced that Turnberry would be removed from the rotating golf courses that host The Open. While it hasn’t been said, it’s pretty obvious that they did because of the U.S. House of Representatives’ second impeachment of Trump as president over the Capitol Riots.

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