A member of Scotland’s parliament this week implored the government to pursue a legal order forcing President Donald Trump and the Trump Organization to reveal the source of funds used to purchase properties in the country, The Scotsman reported Thursday.
Parliamentarian Patrick Harvie, a co-leader of the Scottish Greens party, urged his fellow lawmakers to investigate exactly how the Trump Organization funded its multi-million dollar Scottish land acquisitions, saying there were “reasonable grounds” to suspect the U.S. president has been involved in illegal activity.
“Trump’s known sources of income do not explain where the money came from in these huge cash transactions,” Harvie said to the rest of the Scottish parliament. “There are reasonable grounds for suspecting that his lawfully obtained income was insufficient. Trump is a politically exposed person in terms of the law, and there are reasonable grounds for suspecting that he, or people he is connected with, have been involved in serious crime. Some of them have pleaded guilty.”
Harvie pressed the government to apply for an “Unexplained Wealth Order” (UWO) – an investigative tool issued by British courts which compels individuals and entities to provide a detailed account of how they acquired a particular good or property. Targets of UWOs that refuse to comply with the order, authorities can confiscate the property in question.
Harvie contended that UWOs were “designed precisely” for such circumstances, challenging government officials to ensure its laws weren’t being violated by the wealthy and powerful.
“Will the first minister seek a UWO and make it clear that Scotland is not a country where anyone with the money can buy whatever land or property they want, no questions asked?” he asked.
Eric Trump, the president’s son and executive vice president of the Trump Organization, responded by calling Harvie’s allegations “reckless,” “disgusting,” baseless, and “libelous.”
UPDATE: @EricTrump has told me @patrickharvie's comments are "disgusting" and "reckless," with "absolutely no basis in fact." He calls Mr Harvie "irrelevant and spineless," says he should be "admonished and sanctioned" for his conduct & calls on him retract "libellous statements" https://t.co/IsQcbtS4w1
— Martyn McLaughlin (@MartynMcL) February 27, 2020
According to The Scotsman, President Trump and the Trump Organization have consistently maintained that no outside financing was used in the 2008 purchase of their Scottish properties.
However, Scotland on Sunday revealed that in 2008 Trump also applied for more than $40 million in loans from the Bank of Scotland. The Bank refused to provide the funds to Trump or the Trump Organization. U.S.-based non-profit activist organization Avaaz similarly urged the Scottish parliament to seek a UWO last year.
The Scottish government last year claimed that Trump refused to pay tens of thousands of pounds in legal fees accumulated after the president lost a protracted legal battle against an experimental eleven-turbine wind farm built adjacent to his golf resort.
[Image via Ian MacNicol/Getty Images]