The race is one between New York State and City prosecutors and the government of Scotland to be the first to furnish proof of Donald Trump’s alleged use of his business interests as money laundering machines for money received from unknown sources, presumed to be Russian oligarchs.
The odds tilted in Scotland’s favor today as the Scottish Parliament set a vote this Wednesday on whether or not to pursue an Unexplained Wealth Order investigation against the Trump Organization to look into the sources of the funds used to purchase the company’s golf resorts in the northernmost portion of the United Kingdom.
According to the local newspaper, The Scotsman:
“Wednesday’s debate is being brought to the chamber by Patrick Harvie, co-convenor of the Scottish Greens, who has repeatedly pressed Ms Sturgeon to look into ‘serious and evidenced concerns’ surrounding Mr Trump’s purchases of the Turnberry resort, and land for his inaugural Scottish property in Aberdeenshire,” the publication wrote.
“The Scotsman revealed last month how Aidan O’Neill QC, one of Scotland’s leading advocates, said Scottish ministers alone had responsibility for pursuing one of the so-called ‘McMafia’ orders, a legal mechanism designed to target suspected corrupt foreign officials who have potentially laundered stolen money through the UK,” it continued.
While the vote will not be binding, any victory by those urging the authorization of the inquiry would “substantially increase pressure on First Minister Nicola Sturgeon” to allow the investigation to begin in earnest.
“Mr Harvie told The Scotsman: ‘The Scottish Government has tried to avoid the question of investigating Donald Trump’s wealth for far too long. There are serious concerns about how he financed the cash purchases of his Scottish golf courses, but no investigation has ever taken place.'”
“’Nicola Sturgeon’s claims that it has nothing to do with her have been shown to be untrue. It’s long past time the government demonstrated that Scotland cannot be a country where anyone with the money can buy whatever land and property they want, no questions asked.'”
“’That’s why I’m bringing this vote to Parliament. The government must seek an unexplained wealth order to shine a light on Trump’s shadowy dealings,’” the Green Party official declared to the newspaper.
The Scotsman attempted to get comments on the upcoming debate from the Trump Organization, but they did not respond to the newspaper’s efforts.
Previously, the disgraced former president’s company has denied using outside financing to finance their Scottish properties, although Eric Trump may be regretting his candor when he told a writer back in 2014 that “Well, we don’t rely on American banks. We have all the funding we need out of Russia” and “We’ve got some guys that really, really love golf, and they’re really invested in our programs. We just go there all the time.’”
Whether the Scottish government will launch the investigation or not remains to be seen, but if they want to beat the New York prosecutors to the punch, they had better hurry.
With both New York State Attorney General Letitia James and New York County District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. both presiding over active investigations of the Trump Organization’s financing and potentially fraudulent tax filings, the line to prosecute Donald Trump and his namesake company is getting mighty long.
Original reporting by Martyn McLaughlin at The Scotsman.
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