Scotland’s top prosecutor will decide if she goes after Trump, judge rules

A Scottish judge was shot down on Thursday try to force the government to investigate Former President Donald Trump bought two golf courses there, leaving the matter in the hands of the nation’s top prosecutor.

As in the United States, where politicians have failed hold Trump accountable and it falls on local prosecutor follow separate investigation, in Scotland, pressure to act now weighs heavily on Lord Advocate Dorothy Bain.

The Scottish government has been urged to put Trump through a long-awaited financial endoscopy for His shady golf resort real estate transaction, but Lord Sanderson’s Judicial decision 44 pages long which means officials can keep pulling their legs.

There have long been questions about how Trump came up with a reported $60 million in cash in 2014 to buy Trump Turnberry, a golf resort in the windy green hills in Scotland’s Ayrshire county .

But when New York-based nonprofit watchdog Avaaz called on the Scottish government to investigate, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon overrode by placing that responsibility on the nation’s top prosecutor. Annoyingly, officials also declined to say whether they actually acted.

Avaaz sued earlier this year, presenting a case for why ministers should be forced to use a new anti-money laundering tool, known as the “unexplained wealth order”. Targeting him with a UWO is a civil matter, not a crime. But it would still force Trump to explain how he found the money — or risk having it confiscated. The lawsuit also attempts to place blame on government ministers who are under political pressure to act against Trump.

Judge, Craig Sandison, hold a hearing in October in which a government lawyer argued that the task should be delegated to the country’s chief prosecutor and that the whole process should be handled in the utmost secrecy.

The government even borrowed the CIA’s infamous “Glomar response” by seeking to “neither confirm nor deny” any investigation.

Thursday’s judge’s order sided with the government entirely, leaving the matter up to Bain, who is essentially the nation’s attorney general. Sandison also did not say whether he thought there was any value to a potential investigation.

“I want to make it clear that I do not express any opinion on the question of whether [criminal law] requirements were or appear to have been met in the case of President Trump,” he wrote.

And he made it clear that the government is most likely still proceeding and will one day seek permission from a judge to examine Trump’s finances.

Furthermore, it is unlikely that Scottish Ministers will still be able to apply for a UWO application regarding President Trump’s Scottish assets.

But he also stressed that government ministers have “full discretion” on any final decision on the use of the anti-money laundering tool.

Shortly after the ruling, Avaaz’s chief legal officer, Nick Flynn, issued a statement demanding that Bain take action.

“The law may have been cleared up, but a cloud of doubt still hangs over Trump’s purchase of Turnberry. By any measure, the threshold for pursuing a UWO to investigate a purchase was easily exceeded. Lord Advocate should take urgent action in the interest of the rule of law and transparency, and demand a clear explanation of where the $60 million used to buy Turnberry came from,” he said.

The Trump Organization in Scotland did not immediately respond to a request for comment. So does the Scottish government.

Trump’s two golf courses in Scotland continue to raise questions. The financial documents show that they have lost money year after year, millions of dollars in losses — but they are still open. Scotland’s top prosecutor will decide if she goes after Trump, judge rules


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