Trump’s UK Golf Resorts Claimed Millions in COVID Aid While He Was President

Former President Donald Trump’s golf resorts in ScotlandWhile he was in office he received nearly $4 million in COVID assistance from the British government. financial filingsThe U.K. show.

The ex-president’s struggling resorts, Trump Turnberry Ayrshire Trump International ScotlandAberdeenshire lost millions last year due to the pandemic (in dollars or in pounds) and received substantial furlough payments following slashing their workforce. The U.S. Constitution’s emoluments clauseFederal officials cannot accept payments from foreign governments. Trump managed to get around this by ostensibly handing over control of his company while he was still in office. However, he kept his financial interest and his financial stake in his family-owned companies.

After Turnberry and Trump International resorts had reported losses of $8.9m in 2020, the British government provided the payments. The company’s filings partially blamed the losses on Brexit — the U.K.’s withdrawal from the European Union, which Trump ardently supported — saying it had disrupted supply chains, the BBC first reported.

“Brexit has also impacted our business as supply chains have been impacted by availability of drivers and staff, reducing deliveries and availability of certain product lines,” one filing said, according to The Independent.

The company also blamed the British government’s lockdown policies. Even though 273 workers at the two courses were let go, Eric Trump said in one of the filings that government COVID aid was “helpful to retain as many jobs as possible” but that “uncertainty of the duration of support and the pandemic’s sustained impact meant that redundancies were required to prepare the business for the long term effects to the hospitality industry.”

A review by The GuardianIt was found that Trump personally owes almost $180 million to two Scottish resorts. However, their combined assets are valued at only $133 million.

After a successful campaign, Trump opened the Aberdeenshire resort. legal fightIt has been a popular meeting place for environmental activists and local residents. It has lost money every yearSince it opened. Turnberry was bought by the Trump Organization for $60 million in 2014. It also claimed that it has spent $150 millions to develop it. The Trump purchase has also led to the resort not posting a profit in any of the years since.

These transactions have been suspect over the years. Trump has always financed his purchases with borrowed money but he paid $60m in cash for Turnberry just as he was defaulting on a $640 million loanDeutsche Bank, and suing it claiming an inability pay. The Avaaz Foundation is a U.S.-based human right watchdog group. issued a reportIn 2019, calling upon the Scottish government to use its laws to stop money-laundering to investigate the purchase.

The Avaaz report suggested that Trump had acquired the Turnberry property during a “cash buying spree” and that his transactions had links to “locations highly conducive to money laundering such as Panama and the former Soviet Union.” A Scottish lawmaker in February called for an “unexplained wealth order,” which would allow authorities to investigate where the purchase funds had come from, but that motion was defeated in the Scottish parliament. (Scotland is still part the U.K. but has its own legislature and a lot of autonomy in internal affairs. Avaaz asked the Scottish court to order lawmakers to investigate. A judge rejected the request last month. However the parliament can still approve a probe if they choose.

“I wish to make it clear that I express no view whatsoever on the question of whether the [criminal law] requirements were or appeared to be met in the case of President Trump,” the judge wrote. “Further, for aught yet seen the Scottish Ministers may still make a UWO application in relation to President Trump’s Scottish assets.”

Lord Advocate Dorothy Bain, Scotland’s top prosecutor, will now decide whether 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, the legal director for Avaaz, said in a statement. “By any measure, the threshold to pursue a UWO to investigate the purchase has easily been crossed. The Lord Advocate should take urgent action in the interest of the rule of law and transparency, and demand a clear explanation of where the $60m used to buy Turnberry came from.”

The Trump Organization dismissed the effort as a “ridiculous charade” and “self-indulgent, baseless nonsense.”

Trump, who is facing a criminal investigation in ManhattanHis business practices and a separate probe by the New York state attorney generalThe Westchester County District Attorney is conducting a new criminal investigation into Trump National Golf Club in Briarcliff Manor (New York), which is about 30 miles north of New York City. Prosecutors are looking at whether the company “misled local officials about the property’s value to reduce its taxes,” according to The New York TimesThis is also a matter of inquiry for other prosecutors in relation to other Trump business.

Michael Cohen, a former vice president of Trump Organization, was sentenced to time in prison after pleading guilty on numerous federal charges. In 2019, Cohen testified before Congress that it was routine for the company’s to provide misleading numbers.

“It was my experience that Mr. Trump inflated his total assets when it served his purposes, such as trying to be listed amongst the wealthiest people in Forbes,” Cohen told Congress, “and deflated his assets to reduce his real estate taxes.”