FIRST Minister Alex Salmond has been accused of jeopardising the integrity of politics following revelations that he pleaded with American tycoon Donald Trump to back the Scottish Government’s controversial decision to free Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi from prison.
• Pre-written statement on Lockerbie bomber’s release was sent to Donald Trump for approval
• Opposition claims SNP believed US billionaire had favour to return
• Trump in dispute with Scottish Government over an offshore wind farm development
The tycoon’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jnr, also claimed that the First Minister had become a “total enemy” of his father following his point-blank refusal to endorse the terrorist’s release from a Scottish jail.
Mr Trump Jnr said: “Once we refused to support the ridiculous notion of letting an international terrorist out of jail, the entire approach of Alex Salmond’s administration and the entire way he has treated us changed drastically for the worse.”
It was revealed yesterday that an e-mail was sent to the billionaire businessman by Geoff Aberdein, Mr Salmond’s senior adviser, six days after the Libyan, convicted of the murder of 270 men, women and children in the bombing of Pan Am flight 103, was released from prison in August 2009, sparking an international storm of protest.
The e-mail contained the draft of a statement declaring Mr Trump’s support for Megrahi’s release. Mr Trump Jnr said: “As New Yorkers, we are not unfamiliar with terrorists. We had planes fly into the World Trade Centre. And for us to support the release of an international terrorist, we would be run out of New York City, if not America.”
He claimed his father’s refusal to endorse the decision to free Megrahi had soured relations between the Scottish Government and the Trump Organisation, notably in relation to the tycoon’s opposition to proposals for the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC), close to the Menie golf resort in Aberdeenshire. “He [Mr Salmond] asked us to support his decision to release a terrorist that killed hundreds of people. Ever since we refused to do that, he has been a total enemy of ours.
“From that point on, all of the promises that we were made about the EOWDC application changed drastically.”
Last night, Mr Trump said on Twitter: “If Alex Salmond had not stupidly released terrorist al-Megrahi (PanAm flight 103) to his friends, there would be no Trump wind farm dispute.”
Clarifying the tycoon’s tweet, George Sorial, vice-president of the Trump Organisation said: “I think what he was saying is that Alex Salmond is really behind the EOWDC application.”
Shadow justice secretary Lewis Macdonald said: “It would appear that the First Minister thought Mr Trump had a favour to return, even if the US tycoon didn’t agree. It is worrying that such close relationships between politicians and rich and powerful businessmen can affect Scottish Government policy.”
Jackson Carlaw, the deputy leader of the Scottish Conservatives, said: “An explanation and a public apology are required from Alex Salmond.”
A spokeswoman for Mr Salmond said: “We were perfectly entitled to hope for support from international stakeholders. We understand Mr Trump did not support this decision, which was entirely up to him.”