April 2, 2023

RUBLE-ROUSER: Trump’s Truth Social investigated for Russian money-laundering scheme

RUBLE-ROUSER: Trump's Truth Social investigated for Russian money-laundering scheme

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It turns out Donald Trump’s Truth Social site may be serving purposes more illicit than merely stroking the ego of a self-important ousted president, as the Justice Department is now investigating financial entanglements with Russia, focusing on possible money laundering.

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Though with Trump, it’s safe to assume an ego trip is involved, it may be an error to view his endeavors as no deeper than ego.

While America was laughing at the former president for creating a special ‘safe space’ social media outlet where he could publish election lies without repercussions, a newly-revealed investigation indicates that the need for likes and shares is only the surface.

In fact, a whistleblower — former Trump Media executive Will Wilkerson — came forward in October 2022 to report his concerns about millions of dollars in funding from Russia.

These payments started nearly a year earlier, with $2 million coming in late 2021 (now, recall all the stories about the site floundering and broke, and Trump’s denials?) and another $8 million following in the beginning of the new year.

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Investigators who were already looking into Trump Media Group expanded their probe to determine whether the support, which executives reportedly considered rejecting, but didn’t because the money was desperately needed, indicates money laundering or other illegal activity. From Forbes:

“The payments came from Paxum Bank, which is registered in Dominica, and ES Family Trust…partly owned by Anton Postolnikov, an apparent relation of Aleksandr Smirnov, an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin who worked for Putin’s government until 2017 and now runs the Russian-controlled maritime company Rosmorport.”

Trump has responded to reports of the site’s struggles with denials, including boasts of how many downloads are reported of the app, but hasn’t addressed the financial aspect, in which a merger with a special acquisition group was delayed when the SEC decided to examine whether this was outside regulatory standards.
Suddenly the site found itself in need of financial support to keep solvent, The Guardian reports, and in stepped Russia.
Now Trump’s third presidential campaign adds this latest Russian entanglement — at a time when Trump’s praise of Vladimir Putin is a factor in the divide in his party — to the legal and public relations issues with which it must contend.

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