American billionaire Donald Trump has claimed the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) banned one of his adverts “to protect Alex Salmond”.
In an advert, placed by Trump International Golf Links last year, the tycoon linked Alex Salmond’s stance on wind turbines to the release of Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi.
The advert appeared in The Press and Journal and The Courier, but was banned by the ASA as it was “misleading”.
Mr Trump said: “The ASA is only trying to protect Alex Salmond for the disgraceful decision to release terrorist, al-Megrahi - the Lockerbie bomber freed for humanitarian reasons.
“He killed 270 people and was supposed to live one week but lived two years. This is the same mind that is destroying Scotland with industrial wind turbines.”
The ASA refuted the tycoon’s allegation. A spokeswoman said: “The ASA banned Trump International Golf Club Scotland’s ad because it made misleading claims about the impact of wind farms on Scottish tourism and contained a misleading image of wind turbines that couldn’t be proven to be representative of a proposed wind farm in Scotland.”
Mr Trump strongly opposes wind power and is threatening legal action against approved plans to build offshore turbines near his Aberdeenshire gold course.
Megrahi, 60, was sentenced to life in prison for the 1988 bombing of a US airliner which claimed 270 lives.
He was released from jail in August 2009 on compassionate grounds after doctors said he was likely to die within three months as he suffered from advanced prostate cancer. Megrahi died in May last year.
The advert, which featured a picture of a wind farm in California, stated: “Tourism will suffer and the beauty of your country is in jeopardy!
“This is the same mind that backed the release of terrorist al-Megrahi, “for humane reasons” -- after he ruthlessly killed 270 people on Pan-Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie. Take action. write, demonstrate and protest [against] Alex Salmond.”
Mr Trump has already been criticised by a father who lost his daughter in the Lockerbie disaster.
Jim Swire, whose daughter Flora died in the bombing in December 1988, said the tragedy had “no place in a confrontation between an entrepreneur who is interested in making money in Scotland and the government”.
Speaking in December he said: “We all know what Trump’s interest is and this is obviously to further his entrepreneurial practice.
“Donald Trump’s attempt to blacken the name of the Scottish Government and convince people the Highlands will turn into one vast wind park has very little to do with Lockerbie. Other than the government has refused a proper investigation into the issues.
“The discussion and investigation [about Lockerbie] has no place in a confrontation between an entrepreneur who is interested in making money in Scotland and the government who failed to investigate the infinitely more important questions over why people were killed in 1988.”
It is the second time The Trump Organisation has been rapped by the advertising watchdog. Their earlier advert was headed “Welcome to Scotland!” above a photograph of broken and rusty wind turbines.
Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) officials received three complaints about the advert, including one from Scottish Renewables.
They argued the photograph gave “a misleading impression of proposed wind farm, because the picture was a decommissioned wind farm in Hawaii".
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