FORMER US president Donald Trump could yet be facing a Scottish investigation into the source of the wealth that he used to buy his two golf resorts in this country.

The online political campaigning movement Avaaz has lodged a petition at the Court of Session. It is seeking a judicial review of the Scottish Government’s decision not to set up an inquiry into how Trump was able to spend a reported $300 million in cash to build the Trump International course at Menie in Aberdeenshire and buy and develop the former Open Championship venue Turnberry in Ayrshire. Neither has been profitable since.

The court move comes as Trump – now a private citizen without the protection from investigation that the presidency brings – and his Trump Organisation are facing a criminal investigation in New York State.

In February the then Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf told the Scottish Parliament that it was not the task of ministers to set up investigations under the unexplained wealth legislation. He said at the time that Trump was “deplorable” but insisted: “There must not be political interference in the enforcement of the law.”

Yousaf intimated that the Civil Recovery Unit which answers to the Lord Advocate should “undertake the investigatory role” but The National understands that no such investigation has been completed.

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The Scottish Greens had put forward a motion calling for such an investigation under the Criminal Finances Act 2017 which was passed by the Westminster Parliament as laws on tax and customs evasion are reserved matters.

It is Scotland’s most senior civil court, however, which will have to decide on whether the Scottish Goverment erred in law in February when it opposed the Greens motion, which was consequently defeated by 89 votes to 32.

Unexplained wealth orders were principally introduced to tackle money laundering but proceedings against individuals or corporations are taken through civil rather than criminal courts, with those in receipt of an order having to prove that money used to finance deals was legitimately acquired.

Almost all of Trump’s entire business career has been founded on debt, about which he has often boasted, but it has been made clear several times that his Scottish operations were funded from cash resources.

In a document issued online before the court action began last week, Avaaz said that the Scottish ministers not only had the right but the duty to start an unexplained wealth inquiry.

Though no-one has formally accused Trump of criminal action, campaigners such as Avaaz and the Scottish Greens maintain that the source of funds for the Scottish purchases must be revealed or doubts will remain. Avaaz said: “Scottish Ministers cannot afford to compromise the sanctity of the rule of law and allow Mr Trump and his associates to undermine Scottish institutions.

“The implications of overlooking the obvious gaps in the funding of the Turnberry purchase are not simply a matter of Scottish national interest, but of global proportions.”

Their petition in court argues that ministers “must act collectively” and have a duty to seek an unexplained wealth order in any circumstances where the relevant requirements set out in the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 are met.

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Avaaz also contends that “there are no reasonable grounds to suspect that known sources of lawfully obtained income would have been sufficient” to enable Trump – either directly or indirectly – to acquire his Scottish assets.

Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie said: “It should never have got to the stage of a legal challenge from an NGO for them to confirm or deny whether they will seek a McMafia order on Trump’s business dealings in Scotland.

“The fact is there is now a criminal investigation under way in the US. 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.”

A comment is awaited from the Trump Organisation, but at the time of the Holyrood debate on the matter the former president’s son Eric, executive vice-president of the Trump Organisation, said: “At a critical time when politicians should be focused on saving lives and reopening businesses in Scotland, they are focused on advancing their personal agendas.”

A Scottish government spokesperson said it is “inappropriate for us to comment on an ongoing legal action”.