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Former Tory donor Scott's bankruptcy extended

A tycoon who funded the Scottish Tories has had his bankruptcy extended by a sheriff following claims his court evidence was "extraordinary" and not "credible".

Malcolm Scott's sequestration will last for another 10 months and he now faces a government watchdog probe into his conduct.

Until last year, the Fettes-educated businessman donated at least £1.6m to the Conservatives and was the Scottish party's treasurer.

He was a close political ally of Foreign Secretary William Hague, allowed Prime Minister David Cameron use of his private jet, and was heavily tipped for a peerage.

However, his grain and property empire went bust spectacularly, owing creditors millions of pounds.

Scott was made bankrupt last year, as were his parents who tried to underwrite their son's debts.

A court hearing was then triggered after creditors became convinced that the tycoon had not disclosed all his assets.

The creditors wanted a sheriff to defer the discharge of Scott's bankruptcy by 22 months, in order to pursue the investigation into his assets. Under oath, Scott claimed he sold a Range Rover for nearly £10,000 in cash shortly before his sequestration.

However, he said that his wife and a "builder called Dougie" had taken the cash in a box to a friend's house for safe-keeping, after which it disappeared.

He told the court: "Someone turned up at [the friend's] door and said 'I've come to pick up the box'."

Ranald Macpherson, the solicitor-advocate representing the creditors, said the way the money went missing was "not a credible story".

He added that it was "extraordinary" the money had been given to an individual whose surname was not known to the tycoon.

Scott also claimed his former nine-bedroom mansion in Kirknewton had been "ransacked" before his bankruptcy. His wife confirmed the burglary in court, but said the house had not been "trashed in any way".

Macpherson asked Scott: "Are there any items you claimed were stolen, but you subsequently sold?"

He replied: "I had nothing to do with that."

The solicitor advocate said there were "clear contradictions" in the evidence of the Scotts and asked the sheriff to "question indeed whether any burglary took place".

In his judgment, Sheriff Holligan said of Scott that "certain assets were not disclosed" during the sequestration process.

He also described the Range Rover sale and loss of assets from the mansion as "unusual".

The Sheriff added that the "apparent mismatch" between Scott's former standard of living and the value of identified assets is "almost bound to fuel suspicions as to non-disclosure".

He stated: "I cannot conclude that the disclosure and cooperation of the debtor so far is of sufficient quality and quantity to justify an immediate discharge."

The Sheriff delayed the discharge of Scott's bankruptcy until September next year.

The Trustee in the case, Blair Nimmo of KPMG, has also applied for a Bankruptcy Restriction Order to be placed on Scott.

His parents' sequestrations have been discharged.

Labour MP Graeme Morrice said: "Extending a sequestration is not done lightly. Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson has to order an inquiry into all the decisions made when Malcolm Scott was her party's treasurer."

Scott could not be contacted.

A spokesman for the Scottish Tories said: "These are private matters for Mr Scott. He is no longer involved with the party."

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Local government

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