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Donald Trump rebuked over advertisement for Scottish golf course

Jeff J Mitchell / Getty Images

Donald Trump waves to a crowd following an address to the Scottish Parliament on April 25, 2012. He spoke of his concerns about a proposed wind farm set to be built near his new GBP 1 billion golf resort, saying it would destroy tourism.

Donald Trump has been given an embarrassing rebuke by U.K. officials who ruled that an advertisement linked to his new $1.1 billion golf resort in Scotland was "misleading."

The country’s Advertising Standards Agency said the newspaper advertisement, which attacked plans for a nearby offshore wind energy plant and mentioned the release of the Lockerbie bomber, could not be substantiated.

Trump has fought a long battle with authorities over the proposed wind farm, which he says will hurt Scottish tourism by spoiling the view from his Trump International Golf Club Scotland.

The 640-foot turbines will be in the sea an estimated mile-and-a-half from Trump's resort.

The first phase of the development, in Menie, Aberdeenshire, opened in 2012 and is marketed as one of the world’s leading links courses.

The club ran an ad in two Scottish daily newspapers featuring a picture of a wind farm in California, with the tag lines: "Is this the future for Scotland?" and "Tourism will suffer and the beauty of your country is in jeopardy!"

It also showed a picture of Scotland’s First Minister, Alex Salmond, with the caption: "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."

The move attracted 21 formal complaints, including one from a member of the Scottish Parliament.

The ASA said the reference to the 1988 terror attack was "distasteful" but did not breach U.K. advertising code of practice.

However, it ruled that the claim a wind farm would harm tourism was "misleading" because it had not been substantiated with sufficient evidence, and said the advertisement should never again appear in its current form.

New York-based Trump last month announced he was shelving the later phases of his development, including a prestige hotel, in protest at the decision to allow the wind farm to go ahead.

He told The Scotsman newspaper: "This was a purely political decision. As dictated by Alex Salmond, a man whose obsession with obsolete wind technology will destroy the magnificence and beauty of Scotland. Likewise, tourism, Scotland's biggest industry, will be ruined."