A judge in Scotland this week signed off on efforts to use a new anti-money laundering law to investigate former President Donald Trump's golf properties in the country.
The judge's approval of the "McMafia Law" probe represents "a significant hurdle" for legal efforts to scrutinize the financing of Trump's resorts, according to the Scotsman.
"Avaaz, a US-based non-profit activism organization, petitioned Scotland's highest court after (members of the Scottish Parliament) rejected calls to pursue an Unexplained Wealth Order against the former US president's Scottish firms," the newspaper reports. "Its petition to the court stated that there are 'no reasonable grounds' to suspect that known sources of lawfully obtained income would have been sufficient to bankroll Mr Trump's acquisition of his Scottish properties."
"Unexplained Wealth Orders" allow authorities to target suspected corrupt foreign officials who have potentially laundered stolen money through the UK, according to the Scotsman. If the suspected officials can't prove a legitimate source for their wealth, authorities can seize the properties in question.
The Scottish judge, Lord Sandison, "has given the green light for Avaaz to seek a judicial review, a development which will reignite the debate over how Mr Trump acquired his Scottish resorts during a decade-long spending spree," the Scotsman reported.
"Since incorporating his first Scottish company 16 years ago, none of Mr Trump's companies have turned a profit, and consequently, have yet to pay a penny in corporation tax," the newspaper reports, before citing the recent indictment of Allen Weisselberg, CFO of the Trump Organization, on tax-fraud charges.
Following Weisselberg's indictment, he stepped down as director of Trump International Golf Club Scotland — but he is still listed as a person with "significant control" over Golf Recreation Scotland, the parent company for Trump's Turnberry resort.