Trump Turnberry firms could face penalties for 'overdue' accounts

Three of Donald Trump’s Scottish companies could face being fined by an executive agency of the UK Government for failing to file their annual accounts on time, The Scotsman can reveal.

The US president’s firms connected with his flagship Scottish resort at Turnberry were due to file their latest accounts last month.

However, Companies House records show the submissions from all three entities were listed on Monday morning as being overdue.

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The failure to file accounts is a criminal offence which could result in company directors being fined personally in the criminal courts, according to Companies House rules.

US President Donald Trump pictured at his Turnberry resort. Picture: John Devlin

However, it is understood the likelier outcome is that unless Mr Trump’s firms can prove the accounts were submitted on time, they would incur a series of late filing penalty fees running into several hundred pounds, provided the accounts are filed in the next few weeks.

Records from Companies House, an executive agency responsible for the incorporation and dissolution of limited companies, show a raft of accounts for Mr Trump’s companies were due on 30 September. The listings all featured a red exclamation mark with the status 'accounts overdue'.

The firms in question are Golf Recreation Scotland Limited, the firm responsible for Trump Turnberry, and two of its three subsidiaries: SLC Turnberry Limited and DT Connect Europe Limited.

Eric, the Trump Organisation’s executive vice-president of development and acquisitions, is the sole director of Golf Recreation Scotland, while he and his brother, also an executive vice-president at the family’s real estate firm, are listed as directors of the other companies.

By 2.30pm, some 45 minutes after The Scotsman's story went live, the 'accounts overdue' status had been removed from Golf Recreation Scotland and DT Connect Europe. A note in the filings section of each company indicates that a document with the accounts is being processed and will be available in five days. It does not state when the accounts were submitted. The same status change was made to the page for SLC Turnberry shortly before 4.30pm..

Under the Companies House penalties system, companies face a series of escalating fines depending on the length of delay in the filings.

Firms submitting accounts that are up to month late are penalised £150; between one and three months, the penalty rises to £375; from three to six months, it goes up to £750. Companies whose accounts are more than six months late are hit with a £1,500 charge.

Golf Recreation Scotland and SLC Turnberry are the main firms associated with Turnberry, which has run up losses of nearly £33m since being acquired by Mr Trump in 2014.

The most recent accounts show the historic hotel and golf resort is running at an annual loss of £3.38m, and is reliant on £107m in interest-free loans from Mr Trump.

As revealed by The Scotsman last week, proposals for a major expansion of Turnberry being overseen by Eric Trump, which saw the Trump Organisation propose the rezoning of agricultural land for swaths of housing and luxury villas, have been rejected.

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DT Connect Europe was set up to oversee a high-end helicopter charter service using one of three luxury Sikorsky helicopters owned by the US president.

However, as The Scotsman revealed last month, the helicopter has been shipped back to the US amid falling demand and “anger” at the Trump brand.

Richard Stubbs, a pilot and co-owner of Cardinal Helicopter Services, a Blackpool-based company which had a contract with Mr Trump’s firm to fly the Sikorsky S-76B, saidi custom suffered after the 2016 US elections.

Jonny Stage, the owner of a luxury travel firm which used to charter Mr Trump’s helicopter, said he always flew without the prominent TRUMP branding on the aircraft, explaining: “If some of my clients had known it was his helicopter, they probably would have chosen another chopper.”

Nitto World Co, meanwhile, is a dormant firm. Companies House filings updated today indicate the latest accounts have been received, and will be available to few in five days’ time. It is not known when they were received.

While online documents filed with Companies House are usually processed within 24 hours, it can take longer to do the same with paper documents. The company is currently processing paper documents it received on 28 September, meaning it is possible the accounts for Mr Trump's firms were submitted on schedule and are being processed.

The Scotsman has asked Companies House for more information about the accounts in question and clarification on their status. Trump Turnberry and the Trump Organisation have also been approached for comment..

Stamps on the covering page of the latest accounts for Mr Trump’s other Scottish company, Trump International Golf Club Scotland Limited, show that they were received by the Edinburgh office of Companies House on 30 September, the day of the deadline. The scanned accounts were subsequently made available for public viewing on the Companies House website four days later.

They showed the resort ran up losses in excess of £1m in 2018, the seventh consecutive year they have been in the red.

According to Companies House, more than 25,000 companies missed last year’s September accounts deadline and incurred a late filing penalty as a result.

Another 643 companies narrowly avoided a penalty, filing their accounts in the final hour before the deadline. In total, 223,640 late filing penalties were handed out in 2018.