Scottish judge won’t force government to investigate Trump golf course — but he’s still not off the hook yet
Donald Trump in Scotland (AFP)

A Scottish judge won't order the government to investigate Donald Trump's golf courses for possible money laundering, although the country's top prosecutor may decide to pursue the case.

Lord Sandison issued a 44-page judicial decision Thursday siding with the government, which argued against investigating financial irregularities at the Trump golf courses, and leaving the matter up to Lord Advocate Dorothy Bain, who is essentially Scotland's attorney general, reported The Daily Beast.

"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," wrote the judge, Craig Sandison. "Further, for aught yet seen the Scottish Ministers may still make a UWO application in relation to President Trump's Scottish assets."

That ruling leaves the door open to Scotland to ask a judge's permission to investigate Trump's finances.

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New York-based watchdog nonprofit Avaaz asked the Scottish government to investigate how Trump came up with $60 million in cash to buy Trump Turnberry, but First Minister Nicola Sturgeon placed responsibility for that probe on the country's top prosecutor.

The watchdog sued earlier this year under the new "unexplained wealth order" tool to uncover money laundering, which would force Trump to reveal where he got the money or risk having it seized.

"The law may have been clarified, but a cloud of suspicion still hangs over Trump's purchase of Turnberry," said Nick Flynn, legal director for Avaaz. "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."