Judicial review granted into decision against Trump wealth investigation

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Judicial Review Granted Into Decision Against Trump Wealth Investigation Judicial Review Granted Into Decision Against Trump Wealth Investigation
CPAC Texas Trump, © AP/Press Association Images
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Craig Paton, PA Scotland Political Reporter

A judge has approved a judicial review into the Scottish government’s decision not to push for an investigation into Donald Trump’s finances in Scotland.

Earlier this year, ministers in Edinburgh declined to place an unexplained wealth order (UWO) — sometimes described as a “McMafia order” — on the former US president.

The order allows for an investigation into how a person or company earned money.

The US-based Avaaz Foundation petitioned Scotland’s highest court, the Court of Session, to grant a judicial review, which was approved by Lord Sandison in an opinion released on Wednesday.

The Scottish government refused calls for an investigation in February, with then justice secretary Humza Yousaf saying such orders are an operational matter for the civil recovery unit — which comes under the responsibility of the Lord Advocate — the head of Scotland’s prosecution service.

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But Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie — who tabled a failed motion to force the Scottish government to seek a UWO from the courts — said it is fully within the powers of ministers.

Reacting to the news, Mr Harvie said: “I’m glad we are a step forward in getting some clarity over why Trump’s business dealings in Scotland haven’t been investigated. It should never have got to the stage of a legal challenge from an NGO for the Scottish Government to confirm or deny whether they will seek a McMafia order.

“Scotland’s reputation is at stake and it is entirely within the powers of ministers to defend it. An unexplained wealth order would be a clear signal that business in Scotland must be transparent and accountable, no matter the individual involved.”

In a previous hearing, lawyers for the Scottish government argued the petition had not been lodged within the three-month deadline from the original decision being taken, but Lord Sandison said approval of it was “in the interests of justice”.

He wrote: “I consider it to be in the interests of justice to extend the time limit for lodging the petition in terms of section 27A(1)(b) of the 1988 Act to include the day on which it was in fact lodged, and to impose no restriction on the grounds of challenge to the position of the ministers which it may advance.”

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