Billionaire American tycoon Donald Trump brought Hollywood to Holyrood this month when he appeared in front of a Scottish parliamentary committee.
Mr Trump, who has faced criticism from environmental groups for his controversial golf course development in Aberdeenshire, was called to give evidence to the Scottish parliament’s economy, energy and tourism committee.
The committee of MSPs had invited Mr Trump to give his views as part of an inquiry into renewable energy after his outspoken criticism of the Scottish Government’s support for wind farms.
Mr Trump claimed that he had received assurances from First Minister Alex Salmond and former First Minister Jack McConnell that a proposed 11-turbine offshore wind farm near his golf course would not be built if he went ahead with his project.
With his executive vice-president George Sorial at his side, he said he felt “betrayed” by Mr Salmond and his predecessor, telling MSPs:
“What they did is lured me in. I spent this money and now I might regret it. I think that 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’.”
However, Mr Salmond’s office has dismissed the claims that Mr Trump received assurances as “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 attacked turbines for their appearance and cost, encouraging the committee to “recognise the serious situation and to encourage the Scottish government not to destroy Scotland with these horrendous, costly and highly inefficient industrial turbines.”
He added: “Your pristine countryside and coastlines will forever be destroyed and Scotland will go broke.”
Mr Trump’s appearance drew protests from both pro- and anti-windfarm groups, who greeted the billionaire with both jeers and cheers as he left the building.
Many of the pro-windfarm campaigners were also there to protest Mr Trump’s golf development on the Menie Estate in Aberdeenshire, which has been the subject of controversy since its announcement in March 2006.
Mr Trump’s handling of the golf course development has come under fire after alleged mistreatment of local residents was exposed in Anthony Baxter’s documentary ‘You’ve Been Trumped’, which has won a number of international awards.
Scottish Green Party leader Patrick Harvie hosted a screening of the film at the Parliament on the eve of the enquiry.
Mr Trump’s appearance intensified pressure on the SNP, who are keen to deflect charges of being too close to wealthy elites after revelations over Mr Salmond’s relationship with beleaguered News International chief Rupert Murdoch.
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