Page last updated at 12:53 GMT, Wednesday, 25 April 2012 13:53 UK

Energy Committee

American business tycoon Donald Trump told the Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee he had been "lured" into building a £1bn golf resort in Scotland with assurances that a nearby wind farm would not go ahead, on 25 April 2012.

Mr Trump said he was assured by the then first minister Jack McConnell, and by Alex Salmond, that the project would not happen.

He said "What they did is they lured me in. I spent this money, and now I might regret it."

Lord McConnell and Mr Salmond have denied the claims.

Mr Trump said Mr Salmond, who became First Minister in May 2007, had "poo-pooed" the wind farm development, saying there was an MoD problem and "all sorts of shipping lane problems".

He added: "After I've invested this tremendous amount of money, all of a sudden this really obnoxious and ugly wind farm appears - which is worse than a wind farm because there is going to be all these different looking windmills."

He said he "felt betrayed" as he had invested his money because of statements that had been made to him.

SNP MSP Chic Brodie told Mr Trump there had been a 9% increase in tourism visits to Scotland last year and pointed to research by VisitScotland in which 80% of people in the UK said the presence of a wind farm would not affect their decision about where to stay when on a holiday or short break in Britain.

The South of Scotland MSP asked the US tycoon what analysis he had that "supports the assertions you have made against wind".

But Mr Trump 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."

Scottish Conservative MSP and convener of the committee Murdo Fraser pressed Mr Trump on why he had not sought more than just verbal assurances, given the importance of the development.

Mr Trump said he "didn't think it was necessary".

Mr Fraser went on to ask Mr Trump about claims that he was looking to withdraw from the site and was conducting a "face-saving exercise".

Mr Trump replied: "I am looking forward to proceeding with the job and I want to build a hotel, I want to build further, I don't want to stop."

Green MSP Patrick Harvie quizzed Mr Trump on the details of the purchase of the land for his development and the circumstances surrounding the alleged assurances on the wind farm proposals.

Scottish Labour MSP Claire Baker pointed out to the American businessman that it was not just wind turbines that aged and became obsolete but that this was a challenge for all energy sectors.

Also giving evidence were George Sorial from the Trump Organisation; J Mark Gibson and Graham Lang from Communities Against Turbines Scotland.

Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee membership

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