Donald Trump has been accused of driving up the value of his golf course estate in Aberdeenshire as part of extensive legal action over alleged corporate fraud.
The Trump International estate in Balmedie is named in a lengthy lawsuit by the New York Attorney General.
It accuses the former US president, members of his family, his corporate organization and his senior management of years of financial fraud to gain some economic benefits.
Trump’s attorney has described the claims as “undeserved” and said Attorney General Letitia James is trying to advance her own political agenda.
A key part of James’ legal action is that Mr. Trump has used deceptive schemes to inflate the value of his organization’s club facilities around the world.
The 214-page document, the result of a three-year investigation, argues that Trump has boosted the value of his assets to encourage banks to lend on more favorable terms.
It said the value of its club properties was lumped together to hide significant fluctuations in the value of individual assets.
A statement from the Attorney General’s office said: “The valuation of this golf course in Aberdeen, Scotland, assumed that 2,500 homes could be developed if the Trump Organization received zoning approval to build fewer than 1,500 homes and apartments, many of which have been explicitly identified. because it is for short term rental only.
“The $267 million value attributed to those 2,500 homes accounted for more than 80% of Aberdeen’s total $327 million valuation as of 2014 financial condition.”
Trump’s coastal golf course in Aberdeenshire opened in 2012 after a controversial planning process.
In February of this year, a plan by the Trump Organization to build up to 500 new homes and 50 cottages near the estate received approval in principle from Aberdeenshire Council.
However, a number of conditions were set before any development could take place.
One of them indicated that the number of homes should not exceed 550.
Trump’s attorney Alina Habba said the lawsuit “isn’t focused on the facts or the law — rather, it’s solely aimed at advancing the attorney general’s political agenda.”
She added: “It is abundantly clear that the Attorney General’s office has overstepped its legal authority by getting involved in transactions where absolutely no wrongdoing has occurred.
“We are confident that our legal system will not withstand this unchecked abuse of power, and we look forward to defending our client against any of the Attorney General’s baseless claims.”