• STV
  • MySTV

Trump golf courses investigated by Russia dossier team

The finances of the US president's Scottish courses were an early focus of their work.

Donald Trump: US president playing a hole at his Aberdeenshire course.
Donald Trump: US president playing a hole at his Aberdeenshire course. PA

Donald Trump's Scottish golf courses were investigated by the team behind the dossier on the US president's alleged ties to Russia.

The report, published in January last year, included claims Mr Trump's election campaign was supported by Russian head of state Vladimir Putin.

It has now emerged that the finances of Mr Trump's golf courses in Aberdeenshire and South Ayrshire were an early focus of research for the dossier.

The connection was revealed when a US senator leaked a transcript of an interview with the co-founder of the company which produced the report.

The confidential meeting with Glenn Simpson in August last year was part of the official Trump-Russia inquiry.

'We did an enormous amount of work on Donald Trump and we began to drill down on specific areas... Scotland was one.'
Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson

Mr Simpson, who started Fusion GPS in 2011, told US officials his investigators "did an enormous amount of work" on Mr Trump.

He said: "We were not totally focused on Russia but we were at a point where we were drilling down on specific areas. Scotland was one."

Mr Simpson said the reason for investigating Mr Trump's golf courses was to establish more information about his financial dealings.

"The original inquiry was into the value of the courses, whether he had to borrow money to buy them, whether they were encumbered with debt, how much money they brought in, what valuations he put on them, and property tax filings," he said.

Mr Trump is the first modern US president to withhold his tax returns from public scrutiny but Mr Simpson said the relative openness of the UK's financial system was an asset to their investigation.

Turnberry: Donald Trump's latest acquisition in Scotland.
Turnberry: Donald Trump's latest acquisition in Scotland. © HEMEDIA / SWNS Group

"[Mr Trump] has golf courses in Scotland and Ireland and one of the facets of UK company law is that private companies have to file public financial statements," he explained.

"When you're looking at a guy like Donald Trump who doesn't like to share information about his company, it's useful to find a jurisdiction where he's required to share that information.

"So we went and ordered the records - the financial statements of the golf courses."

Mr Simpson claimed Donald Trump's golf courses "are not profitable entities".

The latest financial filings show Trump International and Trump Turnberry lost £19m between them in 2016, up from a £9.5m loss the year before.

'[Mr Trump] sunk a lot of money into [his golf courses] and he hadn't gotten a lot of money back yet.'
Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson

"[Mr Trump] sunk a lot of money into them and he hadn't gotten a lot of money back yet," he added.

The president's Scottish golf courses are not mentioned in the final report produced by Fusion GPS and there is no suggestion any wrongdoing or impropriety has taken place in connection with them.

Mr Trump has denied allegations his campaign colluded with Russia and is suing BuzzFeed News, which first published the dossier, for defamation.

The 312-page transcript containing Mr Simpson's testimony was leaked this week by Democratic senator Dianne Feinstein, who claimed she acted at his behest.

Ms Feinstein said she made the decision to release to clear up the "innuendo and misinformation" about Fusion GPS and its motivations.

Christopher Steele: Ex-British agent was involved in dossier.
Christopher Steele: Ex-British agent was involved in dossier. PA

Former MI6 spy Christopher Steele largely authored the final report published by BuzzFeed News, although it is unclear whether or not he was involved in the investigation into Mr Trump's golf courses.

Research for the dossier reportedly began in September 2015 after Fusion GPS was hired by the Washington Free Beacon, a conservative political website.

The Beacon halted the investigation when Mr Trump emerged as the likely Republican candidate in the 2016 US election in spring that year.

Fusion GPS was then retained by the law firm Perkins Coie to continue its research on Mr Trump on behalf of the campaign to elect Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee.

Mr Steele was hired in June 2016 and produced series of 35-page memos which became the Steele dossier.

STV News has approached the Trump Organisation for comment.

Download: The STV News app is Scotland's favourite and is available for iPhone from the App store and for Android from Google Play. Download it today and continue to enjoy STV News wherever you are.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check. That e-mail's already in our system. Please try again.
ShowHide
Forgot password?
This field is required. This must be at least 6 characters long. Did you enter your details correctly?
If you've forgotten your details then use the 'Forgot password?' link.
Need to reset your password?

We'll send a link to reset your password to

We've sent you details on how to reset your password

Please check your email and follow the instructions.

Forgotten your email address?

Have you forgotten the email address that you previously joined with? Don't worry, by emailing enquiries@stv.tv we can help.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This must be at least 6 characters long.
ShowHide
This field is required. This must be at least 6 characters long.
You must be over 16 to join STV.
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date
We need this to check that you live in an STV region.
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid postcode
Would you like us to email you about our great shows and services from time to time?
We'll only send emails we think you'll like (see example) based on information you have supplied and shows you have watched on STV Player. For details on emails and advertising, see our STV & You page.
Would you like to receive emails from the Scottish Children's Lottery about draws, instant games and competitions?
We support the Scottish Children's Lottery (SCL), which is managed by our colleagues at STV ELM Ltd. You can find out more about the SCL on its website, including its Privacy Policy.

By continuing you agree to our Terms of Use, and understand our Privacy and Cookie Policies.

Upload Profile Picture

Please make sure your image is under 2mb in size and a valid JPG, PNG or GIF.

Are you sure?

Unfortunately, you'll be unable to access our premium content. We’ll be sorry to see you go, but if you change your mind you can rejoin us at any time.

Please verify your STV account

Please verify your STV account using the email we sent you. If you have lost the email, we can send you another one, just click the button below.

Thanks

We've sent you a new verification email.
Please check your email and follow the instructions to verify your account.

Welcome to STV
Thanks for joining us.

Oops!

Sorry, you must be at least 12 years old to place a vote for your Real Hero.

Please review our Voting Terms of Use for more information.

Oops!

Sorry! It seems that you are using a browser that is incompatible with our voting service.

To register your vote please copy the below URL in to your regular mobile browser. We recommend Google Chrome, or Safari.

http://shows.stv.tv/real-heroes/voting

Oops!

Sorry, you seem to have already voted in this category.

Thanks for voting

Now share your vote with friends on your social network

Share on twitter Share on facebook

Cast your vote

Please register or sign in to continue.

Cast your vote

This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date

Cast your vote

Please fill out this form to cast your vote. As you are under 16 years old you will not create an STV account. Why do we need these details?

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check.
Location This field is required.
Parental Consent This field is required.

That's you. All that's left is to click the 'Submit Vote' button below. By doing so, you confirm that you and your parent or guardian have read and accept our Voting Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Cookie policy, and that the details you have entered are correct. We'll look after them as carefully as if they were our own.