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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 February 2008, 14:53 GMT
Trump team denies sleaze claims
Donald Trump
Donald Trump's team was quizzed about contact with ministers
The Trump Organisation has described allegations of sleaze surrounding the role of ministers in its 1bn golf project as grossly inappropriate.

Donald Trump's spokesman, George Sorial, told a Holyrood inquiry that the organisation was very offended by the claims of special treatment.

He said Lib Dem leader Nicol Stephen, who made the claim, should apologise.

Meanwhile, BBC Scotland has learned the inquiry has written to Alex Salmond about the Aviemore Highland Resort.

Giving evidence on Wednesday, Mr Sorial insisted that the Trump Organisation was still committed to plans to build the golf resort in Aberdeenshire.

George Sorial at the site [Pic: Robert Ormerod]
We have asked for no special favours, we haven't been extended any special courtesies and the process has been rigorous
George Sorial
Trump Organisation

However, he also told MSPs who are probing the handling of the application that they were delaying matters.

And he warned there was still a possibility that the deal could go sour.

Mr Sorial told the Holyrood committee: "Nothing that has been done has been sleazy."

Lib Dem leader Mr Stephen had previously told First Minister Alex Salmond that the Scottish Government's role in the proposed development smelled of sleaze.

Mr Stephen later responded: "I have never at any point criticised the Trump Organisation. I support their project. My concern has always been that the actions of ministers could have prejudiced the application."

'Walk away'

Mr Sorial added: "We may very well arrive at the point where we walk away from this project. We always have options.

"We have tremendous opportunity everywhere else in the world to do our projects, I could name dozens of countries that will more than welcome the development of a Trump project."

The committee inquiry was launched after the Scottish Government called in the Trump planning application to build a 1bn golf resort, featuring two courses, a hotel and housing, on the Menie Estate.

The application was narrowly rejected by Aberdeenshire Council's infrastructure services committee in November.

Andrew Macleod and Donald Trump
Mr Trump flew into Aberdeen to unveil details of the project

While he said he had been told the call in process was "more streamlined" than the appeal procedure, Mr Sorial insisted the Trump Organisation had "no part in the call in" decision.

He said: "When ministers stepped in and removed the application from the council it couldn't be anything but good news for us."

Mr Sorial said there was not "one iota" of evidence of any sleaze.

He said: "We have asked for no special favours, we haven't been extended any special courtesies and the process has been rigorous."

'Overstepping mark'

The committee has already questioned Mr Salmond twice on the government's involvement in the affair and taken evidence from the government's chief planner, Jim Mackinnon, and Alan Campbell, the chief executive of Aberdeenshire Council.

It is understood the first minister is also being asked to answer questions about the involvement of ministers and the chief planner in the fast-tracking of a planning application for the Aviemore resort.

The Scottish Government has already denied accusations of inappropriate conduct over the approval of the 80m Aviemore Highland Resort.

Ministers contacted environment bosses and the chief planner after Macdonald Hotels threatened to scrap the plans for Aviemore because of a delay.

Labour said the government was overstepping the mark by intervening on an individual issue but ministers insisted their actions had saved hundreds of vital jobs.


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