Trump’s UK Golf Resorts demanded millions in COVID aid while he was president

Former President Donald Trump golf clubs in scotland demanded nearly $ 4 million in COVID aid from the UK government while in office, financial documents on the UK show.

The former president’s struggling seaside resorts, Trump turnberry in Ayrshire and Trump International Scotland in Aberdeenshire, lost millions last year amid the pandemic (whether counted in dollars or pounds) and received heavy leave payments after downsizing. The American Constitution clause on fees bans federal officials from receiving payments from foreign governments, although Trump circumvented this by ostensibly handing over control of his business to his children while in office, although he retained his financial interest in his family businesses .

The UK government made the payments after the resorts of Turnberry and Trump International reported losses of $ 8.9 million in 2020. The company’s statements partly attributed the losses to Brexit – the UK’s withdrawal the European Union, which Trump strongly supported – claiming he had disrupted supply chains. , the BBC first reported.

“Brexit has also had an impact on our business as supply chains have been affected by the availability of drivers and staff, reducing deliveries and the availability of some product lines,” a dossier said, according to The independent.

The company also blamed the UK government’s foreclosure policies. Even though 273 workers from the two courts were made redundant, Eric Trump said in one of the files that government COVID assistance was “helpful in keeping as many jobs as possible” but that “the uncertainty of the duration of the support and the continued impact of the pandemic meant layoffs were needed to prepare the company for the long-term effects on the hospitality industry.

A review by The Guardian found that the documents show that the two Scottish seaside resorts owe Trump personally nearly $ 180 million, even though their combined assets are currently only valued at around $ 133 million.

Trump opened the Aberdeenshire complex in 2012 after a legal fight with local residents and environmental activists. He has lost money every year since its opening. The Trump Organization bought Turnberry in 2014 for $ 60 million and said it spent $ 150 million to develop it. Likewise, this resort has not posted a profit in the year since Trump’s purchase.

These transactions have raised various suspicions over the years. Although Trump has long funded purchases with borrowed money, he disbursed $ 60 million in cash for the Turnberry property just like he was. default on $ 640 million loan of Deutsche Bank, and suing the bank on the grounds of inability to pay. The Avaaz Foundation, a US-based human rights watchdog group, published a report in 2019, calling on the Scottish government to use its anti-money laundering laws to investigate the purchase.

The Avaaz report suggested that Trump acquired the Turnberry property during a “money-buying frenzy” and that his transactions were linked to “places very prone to money laundering like Panama and the former -Soviet Union “. A Scottish lawmaker in February called for an ‘unexplained wealth order’, which would allow authorities to investigate the source of the purchase funds, but the motion was defeated in the Scottish parliament. (Although still part of the UK, Scotland has its own legislature and considerable autonomy in internal affairs.) Avaaz has asked a Scottish court to force lawmakers to investigate, but a judge dismissed this asked last month, while leaving the door open for parliament to approve an investigation if its members so wish.

“I want to make it clear that I express no opinion on whether the [criminal law] the requirements were or appeared to be met in the case of President Trump ”, the judge wrote. “Additionally, for anything yet seen, Scottish ministers can still file a UWO claim regarding President Trump’s Scottish assets.”

Lord Advocate Dorothy Bain, Scotland’s top prosecutor, will now decide whether or not to pursue a criminal investigation against Trump or his company.

“The law may have been clarified, but a cloud of suspicion still hangs over Trump’s purchase of Turnberry,” Nick Flynn, Avaaz general counsel, said in a statement. “In all respects, the threshold to sue a UWO to investigate the purchase was easily crossed. The Lord Advocate should take urgent action in the interests of the rule of law and transparency, and demand a clear explanation of the origin of the $ 60 million used to buy Turnberry.

The Trump organization called the effort a “ridiculous comedy” and “complacent and baseless nonsense.”

Trump, who faces a Manhattan criminal investigation related to its business practices and a New York State Attorney General’s separate investigation, also faces a new criminal investigation by the Westchester County district attorney into the Trump National Golf Club in Briarcliff Manor, New York (about 30 miles north of New York). Prosecutors are investigating whether the company “misled local authorities about property value to cut taxes,” according to The New York Times, which is also under investigation for other prosecutors, in connection with other Trump companies.

Former Trump Organization vice president Michael Cohen, who served jail time after pleading guilty to numerous federal charges, told Congress in 2019 that it was routine for the company to provide misleading figures.

“In my experience, Mr. Trump inflated his total assets when it served his purposes, such as trying to be among the richest people on Forbes,” Cohen told Congress, “and deflated its assets to reduce its property taxes.”

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