Donald Trump has claimed Alex Salmond told him over a dinner in New York that there would be no offshore wind turbines near his Aberdeenshire golf course.
Speaking at a Holyrood inquiry, he said the First Minister assured him that because of objections from the Ministry of Defence and the proximity of shipping lanes he was led to believe there would be “absolutely no wind farm”.
However, Mr Salmond’s spokesman said the claims were “total nonsense”.
George Sorial, Mr Trump’s executive vice-president, said the dinner was hosted by Scottish Development International in October 2007.
Mr Trump said: “We had a dinner, we talked for hours, we talked about windmills.”
Although the American tycoon did not name the restaurant, parliamentary records show it was the exclusive Perigord, a French restaurant in Manhattan, a one-time favourite of disgraced US President Richard Nixon and actors Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor.
He told the MSPs Mr Salmond had said during the dinner “there is the Ministry of Defence, you have lots of different things including shipping lanes because it’s near Aberdeen”.
He added: “I was certainly led to believe there would be absolutely no wind farm.”
Although he claimed to have been misled, Mr Trump said he liked Mr Salmond and refused to say he had been lied to.
He said “Do I like him? Yes. I think he is misguided.”
Mr Trump claimed it would be “disastrous” if the Scottish Government pursued its policy, adding: “When the UK stops subsidies, Scotland will go broke.”
Asked if Mr Salmond had offered to use his influence as First Minister to block the application, Mr Trump said: “I don’t think he said that, no. But he led me to believe there would be no wind farm.”
He insisted he had been “lured” into investing in Scotland by Mr Salmond and his predecessor Jack McConnell after being assured by them no wind turbine development would be built near his golf resort.
He said: “What they did is they lured me in. 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’.”
Both politicians deny they gave any assurances to Mr Trump.
The American tycoon also questioned the job creation claims made by Mr Salmond’s government, saying it would “destroy” tourism.
When questioned where the evidence was to support his assertion, he replied: “I am the evidence. I am an expert in tourism, I am considered a world-class expert in tourism, so when you say where is the evidence, I am the evidence.”
Mr Trump also rejected claims that part of the SNP’s election success was because of its renewables policy.
He said: “This is the same thinking that gave you Megrahi, where they let him out of prison because he’d be dead within two weeks. Well, guess what, he was seen running in the park last week. This is the exact same thing.”
Mr Sorial insisted that “people all over Scotland are screaming in opposition” to wind power.
He said of politicians: “Just because you were democratically elected doesn’t mean you have a right to unilaterally and just carte blanche impose all your policies on your people.”
Mr Salmond’s spokesman said: “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.”
Mr Trump arrived yesterday in a black Range Rover with blacked-out windows along with his son Donald and Mr Sorial, followed by other aides in a black Audi, more than an hour before he was due to give evidence to the inquiry by Holyrood’s Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee into renewables.
When he left, there were chants of “there’s only one Donald Trump” from several hundred supporters, who heavily outnumbered a group of green activists.
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