- The prospect of an investigation into Trump’s Scottish golf courses fell after a legal ruling.
- Campaigns had argued that ministers should pursue a money laundering investigation into Trump.
- A judge ruled that the ministers could delegate this responsibility, which effectively avoided the decision.
Hopes for an investigation into Donald Trump’s cash purchase of a Scottish golf course fell on Thursday when a judge issued a legal ruling on so-called “McMafia” orders in Scotland.
Edinburgh’s Court of Session had considered the Scottish Government’s decision not to investigate Donald Trump’s 2014 acquisition of Turnberry, the historic golf resort near Glasgow.
Campaign group Avaaz brought the case after the Scottish Government in February rejected calls to pursue an “Unexplained Wealth Order” (UWO) against Trump.
UWOs give prosecutors the power to require people or organizations to explain how they acquired assets such as expensive property. They are known as “McMafia” orders referring to the television series on organized crime.
Avaaz claimed that a “towering cloud of suspicion” hangs over Trump’s purchase of Turnberry, which he unusually bought in cash in 2014 for $ 60 million.
The court ruled Thursday that ministers had no duty to request unexplained property orders against individuals.
Craig Sandison, the chief justice who handed down the ruling, agreed with the Scottish Government that ministers could delegate this responsibility to Lord Advocate, Scotland’s chief legal officer.
Dorothy Bain, Lord Advocate, could still initiate a UWO against Trump, though to date she has not given any indication that she will.
The ruling means Nicola Sturgeon and other Scottish ministers will not be forced to decide one way or the other.
Avaaz said Bain, who was appointed in June, had to move to start the investigation.
Nick Flynn, legal director at Avaaz, said in a statement: “The law may have been clarified, but a cloud of suspicion still hangs over Trump’s purchase of Turnberry.
“Regardless of any measure, the threshold for pursuing a UWO to investigate the purchase has been easily exceeded.
“Lord Advocate should take swift action for the sake of the rule of law and transparency and demand a clear explanation of where the $ 60 million spent to buy Turnberry came from.”
Insider contacted the Scottish Government for comment but did not immediately receive a response.