15 Jul 2021
Nicola Sturgeon “misled” the Scottish Parliament when she said her Government couldn’t launch a money laundering probe against Donald Trump, a court has heard.
The Court of Session heard how the SNP administration was asked last year to investigate how the Trump Organisation managed to pay for golf course developments in Scotland.
Advocate Aidan O’Neill QC, who represents international human rights group Avaaz, told judge Lord Sandison on Wednesday that Ms Sturgeon didn’t understand the law on a form of investigation called unexplained wealth orders, which is what her Government was told it could use to investigate Mr Trump’s finances.
The hearing concerns how Mr Trump obtained the funding for the Menie golf course in Aberdeenshire and the Turnberry resort in Ayrshire.
But Ms Sturgeon told the Scottish Parliament that the Government couldn’t launch such a probe and that the responsibility for the investigation lay with the Crown Office’s Civil Recovery Unit.
However, Mr O’Neill told the court that Ms Sturgeon said that the Civil Recovery Unit was politically independent from the Scottish Government, but her Government’s position later changed.
He said the then Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf later announced that the law allowed for the Scottish Government to launch an unexplained wealth order investigation.
Mr O’Neill told the court that Mr Yousaf was correct – that the law allowed for the Scottish ministers to launch such a probe.
He added that Ms Sturgeon failed to understand the law and branded it as “worrying” that she didn’t have a proper understanding of the legislation.
Mr O’Neill, who is asking for permission from the court for a judicial review, which he hopes will overturn the Scottish Government’s refusal to launch an unexplained wealth order against Mr Trump, added: “Strangely, the First Minister didn’t understand the law and misled Parliament on that point.
By Georgina Hayes, The Telegraph, 14 July 2021
Read more at The Telegraph
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