According to breaking new reporting from The Guardian today, prosecutors with the US federal government have formally launched an investigation into ex-President Donald Trump’s social media company for possible money laundering involving Russian entities.
Guardian’s bombshell reporting confirms that Trump Media, the parent company and owner of the scandal-ridden former president’s Truth Social media platform, first found itself under investigation by federal authorities in New York in connection to the media company’s potential impending merger with a blank-check company called Digital World. This possible merger inspired federal investigators to begin scrutinizing two different loans, worth $8 million combined, that had been wired to the Trump Media company, through the Caribbean, by two entities who have strong links and ties to the Kremlin.
The publication obtained financial records that show Trump Media received the first payment of $2 million in December of 2021, at a time when the Truth Social parent company was teetering on the brink of collapse and ruin. At the time, the impending merger between Trump Media and Digital World was halted due to an inquiry by the Securities and Exchange Commission. However, Chief Executive of Digital World, Patrick Orlando, was able to circumvent that inquiry and subsequent merger delay by wiring the loan to Trump Media through Paxum Bank registered in Dominica.
The Guardian reports:
The wire transfer identified Paxum Bank as the beneficial owner, although the promissory note identified an entity called ES Family Trust as the lender. Two months later, an unexpected second $6 million payment arrived in Trump Media’s account from ES Family Trust, the transfer receipt showed.”
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Will Wilkerson, the former co-founder of Trump Media turned whistleblower, has since alleged that Orlando repeatedly refused to provide any details regarding the true identity of the lenders or the origin of the money involved in the suspicious loan. Wilkerson noted that an individual by the name of Angel Pacheco was apparently listed simultaneously as both a trustee of ES Family Trust and a director of Paxum Bank.
The newspaper further reports, “The Russian connection, as being examined by prosecutors in the US attorney’s office for the southern district of New York, centers on a part-owner of Paxum Bank – an individual named Anton Postolnikov, who appears to be a relation of Putin ally Aleksandr Smirnov.”
Aleksandr Smirnov served in the Central Office of the Russian government until 2017 and, before that, as the first deputy minister of justice of Russia until 2014. Smirnov served in the executive office of the president for most of Vladimir Putin’s first two terms in the Russian office and now oversees the Russian maritime company Rosmorport.
A spokesman for the US attorney’s office, outside counsel for Trump Media, and representatives for Rosmorport and Paxum Bank all declined to comment on the investigation.
Read the full report from The Guardian here.
Featured image via Flickr/Gage Skidmore, under Creative Commons license 2.0