Trump’s Troubles Multiply As Inflation Of His Scottish Homes’ Value Is Discovered; Report Claims

by Jessica
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According to a report by The Herald published on Monday, February 26, 2024, Donald Trump and his companies have been implicated in a scheme to fraudulently inflate the valuations of non-existent Scottish golf club properties by up to £200m.

The scheme was allegedly designed to deceive banks and others to borrow more at lower rates.

The revelations emerged alongside news that the Aberdeen club’s operating company has run at a deficit since its opening in 2012, accumulating total losses of £13.025m over the past 11 years.

A US judge uncovered that false claims had been made regarding the existence of 2,500 built homes as part of a project associated with the loss-making Trump International Golf Club in Aberdeen.

In reality, there was only planning permission for 500 homes and no development had taken place.

The judge’s civil fraud case findings stated that the Trump Organization had valued the undeveloped Aberdeen land at £207.9m, while an independent appraisal placed it at less than half that amount.

The New York Attorney General, Letitia James, accused the Trump Organization of producing false financial statements to inflate the former president’s net worth.

The inflated prices were deemed “particularly egregious” as Mr. Trump had indefinitely postponed all development plans after the Scottish government approved offshore wind farm plans near the site.

Mr. Trump was recently ordered to pay nearly $355m (£281m) to the state of New York for lying about the values of his properties, including those related to the housing development associated with the Aberdeen golf club.

In response to the ruling, Mr. Trump, who is campaigning for a non-consecutive second term as president in the 2024 election, declared it to be a “political witch hunt” and vowed to appeal.

The judge’s findings revealed that the valuations of the Aberdeen homes had been manipulated over the years.

In 2014, the financial statements valued the properties as if 2,500 residences had already been built, despite only having permission for 500. By 2021, the valuations had dipped to £68,781 per home, with permission to build 1,200 residences, reducing the total valuation to £82.537m.

The judge’s decision brings a significant penalty for Mr. Trump.

He has been ordered to pay interest on the profits obtained through the fraudulent actions, potentially amounting to a total of $450m (£354m).

Allen Weisselberg, the former chief financial officer of the Trump Organization, was also ordered to pay $1m (£793,600).

Despite the significant consequences, the judge spared Mr. Trump’s empire from having its business licences cancelled, commonly referred to as the corporate death penalty.

The ruling is considered a major victory for the New York Attorney General, Letitia James, who described it as a “tremendous victory for this state, this nation, and for everyone who believes that we all must play by the same rules, even former presidents”.

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