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SIC and trust to meet Trump lawyer …at last

A DELEGATION of senior councillors, trustees and officials are heading to Edinburgh in the first week of February to obtain top-flight legal advice on how Shetland Charitable Trust should be managed and whether council and trust accounts should be grouped.

In November, both organisations agreed to hire Roy Martin QC for the best possible legal advice on both issues.

A previous meeting scheduled for December had to be cancelled when Edinburgh airport was closed due to snow.

Council convener Sandy Cluness said on Thursday that no time had been wasted as Mr Martin had been briefed on the issues by council lawyers in the meantime.

Mr Martin had been hired following pressure from the Office of the Scottish Charities Regulator (OSCR) who are unhappy with the £220 million trust being controlled by the council.

The local authority meanwhile wants advice on council watchdog the Audit Commission’s insistence that the accounts of the trust and the council are grouped.

The council’s refusal to do so has led its external auditor Audit Scotland to qualify its accounts for the past four years.

Mr Martin is expected to make recommendations on the trust’s future governance as well as the accounting problem between both organisations.

Mr Cluness said: “This is an opportunity for Mr Martin to ask us questions. He will have all the background papers and will be well briefed.”

Mr Martin hit the headlines last year when he represented US billionaire Donald Trump in his fight against local residents to build a golf course in Aberdeenshire.

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