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Politicians failed in an attempt to scrutinise Donald Trump’s Scottish business interests

Author: Azizur Rahman  8 February 2021

Aziz Rahman, of financial crime specialists Rahman Ravelli, outlines why their efforts were never likely to succeed.

The Scottish parliament has rejected a call for the government to investigate how Donald Trump funded his purchase of two golf courses in Scotland.

The Scottish Green Party brought a motion calling on ministers to seek an unexplained wealth order (UWO) against the former US President over his acquisition of the golf courses and resorts in north and west Scotland. It was defeated by a vote of 89 to 32.

The party’s co-leader Patrick Harvie had said there were longstanding concerns about Trump’s financial conduct, describing the ex-president as “an untrustworthy dishonest, racist, conspiracy theorist” with whom Scotland should never have associated.

Scottish Justice Minister Humza Yousaf said that while Donald Trump was a “deplorable individual” it was not for politicians to instigate such investigations.

Britain introduced UWOs in 2018 to help authorities target the illicit wealth of foreign officials suspected of corruption and those believed to be involved in serious crimes. They compel an individual to explain the source of their wealth and can pave the way for authorities to seize assets.

But for the authorities to make a successful application to a court for a UWO, there has to be reasonable grounds to suspect that the individual who owns the assets in question does not have a legitimate income large enough to have obtained them. It is likely that any application for a UWO relating to Donald Trump would fall at that hurdle.

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Azizur Rahman

Senior Partner

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Aziz Rahman is Senior Partner at Rahman Ravelli and its founder. His ability to coordinate national, international and multi-agency defences has led to success in some of the most significant corporate crime cases of this century and top rankings in international legal guides. He is recognised worldwide as one of the most capable legal experts regarding top-level, high-value commercial and financial disputes.

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