Alex Salmond gave a personal assurance during a New York dinner date with Donald Trump that a controversial wind farm would not be built in the shadow of his North-east golf resort development, the American tycoon told MSPs.
Mr Trump revealed he “talked for hours” during a Globalscots dinner with the First Minister at a Manhattan restaurant in October 2007, months after Mr Salmond became First Minister.
The billionaire brought the Scottish Parliament to a standstill yesterday with a dramatic appearance before the economy, energy and tourism committee, which is conducting an inquiry into renewable energy.
Mr Trump said he was “lured in” and “betrayed” by Mr Salmond, and his predecessor, Lord McConnell, over the 11-turbine wind farm earmarked for the coastline adjacent to his golf course.
The claims were dismissed as “total nonsense” last night by Mr Salmond’s office, and MSPs slammed Mr Trump’s outspoken attacks on wind energy, including his sweeping claims that it would see “Scotland go broke”.
The previously unpublicised meeting between Mr Trump and Mr Salmond at Le Perigord restaurant five years ago was the occasion when the businessman said he received the wind-farm assurances.
Mr Trump said: “Alex Salmond told me – he scoffed at the idea at a dinner we had in New York. We talked for hours. Who would believe we didn’t talk about windmills?
“We discussed a lot of things and one of them was wind and wind farms, and I talked about the destruction of wind farms and how bad they are, even in some cases to the environment.
“He told me that you have the Ministry of Defence, you have lots of different things, including shipping lanes for Aberdeen. I was certainly led to believe there would be absolutely no wind farm. If I thought there was, I would not have built.”
It was known at the time that representatives from the Trump Organisation would be attending the Globalscots dinner on 11 October, 2007, along with GE, Wyeth Research, Morgan Stanley and RBS America.
However, the Scottish Government did not disclose at the time that Mr Salmond met Mr Trump.
It would be major breach of planning law for any First Minister to give assurances that any big development would be approved or blocked before going through planning consent.
A spokesman for the First Minister said: “These claims from Mr Trump are total nonsense. Absolutely no assurances have been given at any time by the First Minister or anyone in this administration to Mr Trump or his organisation, and any claims to the contrary are wrong.
“The suggestion that any assurances were given at a dinner in New York in October 2007, which was attended by other businesspeople and potential inward investors in Scotland, is merely the latest in a long line of bizarre twists and claims.”
Mr Trump warned future investment in Scotland could be jeopardised by the issue.
“What they did is they lured me in,” he told MSPs. “I spent this money, and now I might regret it. I think other people that want to invest in Scotland are watching me and they’re watching what happened, and I think they’re going to say: ‘We’re not going to invest in Scotland’.”
The tycoon said he invested a “tremendous amount of money” before the re-emergence of the wind farm, adding: “I feel betrayed.” He is threatening to pull the plug on a planned multi-million-pound hotel.
Mr Trump, flanked by his executive, George Sorial, told MSPs that Scotland would go “broke” over the SNP’s drive towards wind farms.
The tycoon was met by jeers and cheers as he left parliament by a crowd of several hundred campaigners, both for and against wind farms.
Green party co-leader Patrick Harvie branded Mr Trump’s appearance a “circus”. He said: “He underlined his denial of climate change and trotted out tired old myths.
“It’s time to ask who this arrogant bully thinks he is. He really needs to learn how to behave in other people’s countries.”
At a glance, The Donald on:
The evidence of his claims: “I am the evidence!”
Wind-farm subsidies: “They’re being subsidised massively by the UK, and without UK subsidies Scotland will go broke.”
Lockerbie bomber’s release: “He was seen running in the park last week.”
Buying Rangers: “I’m thinking about it.”
Global warming: “Here you are, destroying the financial wellbeing of Scotland to meet phoney and totally random CO2 targets.”
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