Truth Social Depends On Sketchy Russian Loans Because Of Course

You’ll never guess who is bankrolling the utterly worthless Truth Social.

Oh, you guessed money laundering Russians? Yeah it IS TOO EASY. The Guardian got to the story first:

Postolnikov came under investigation when his “friend” was found insider trading… no fair guessing! Trump Media shares.

Guardian reporter Hugo Lowell talked about the money laundering with Morning Joe on March 15, 2023 (above). What is new today is the documentation of it. (h/t Heather for the video)

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: First, a new report this morning in The Guardian reveals federal investigators have looked into former President Donald Trump’s social media company for possible money laundering. Sources familiar with the matter tell The Guardian the probe involves the media company’s acceptance of $8 million from a source with suspected Russian ties. Anyone surprised?

Joining us now is the author of that new article, political investigations reporter for The Guardian, Hugo Lowell. I’ll let John Heilmann take the first question here. Heilmann?

JOHN HEILMANN: Hugo, tell us the story. That guy, like, what’s the… And it’s like this, yeah, we’ve got a couple headlines there, but…

[OFF CAMERA] Russia, Russia, Russia!

HEILMANN: First of all, the fact that they’re even looking into the Truth Social thing just in and of itself is a new line of inquiry, as far as I know, from federal investigators. Just talk to us about what you found.

HUGO LOWELL, THE GUARDIAN: Well, so there was an existing criminal investigation into Trump Media, the parent company of Truth Social that started last year. They were looking at the merger with the SPAC because he already ran into problems with the merger with the SPAC. But then…

HEILMANN: Not a money laundering investigation.

LOWELL: Well, not quite, but then towards the end of last year, what happened was they got a tip and they started looking at basically two tranches of an $8 million payment that came through to TMTG. It was at a time when they were cash poor because the merger had been delayed because of the investigation, the SEC investigation. And they really needed a bridge loan.. So what they did was they went and got bridge financing from, at first, a bank in Dominica called Paxson Bank.

And then in February 22, they got a second loan of 6 million from an entity called ES Family Trust, right? Ostensibly two different companies.

As it turned out, they’re pretty much one and the same company.

And if you trace the beneficiaries back, you get to the nephew of a Putin ally who was the first Deputy Justice Minister in Russia and previously served in Putin’s executive office.

And so when you look at the whole thing, it’s difficult to know if there’s gonna be actual exposure here from money laundering.

They were just looking at it, right?

It’s just an investigation.

But the optics of Trump coming out of the White House as first business venture is getting really opaque loans through opaque conduits from offshore banks.

I mean, it’s not a great look.

HEILMANN: You know, that’s not what Trump says. ‘You know, you Democrats and you fake news hounds, all you ever want to talk about is Russia, Russia, Russia, with no basis whatsoever.’ I just, I mean, it’s outrageous.

JONATHAN LEMIRE: There’s the way that he’s- Seemingly ample reason to talk about this- They have already evidence tying him to Russia.

CROSSTALK…Ample reason to talk about his ties to Russia. ….Talk about going back to the beginning.

LEMIRE: Yeah, they never quite leave it. So, Hugo- Yeah, really. You obviously are wired into Trump world very closely. What is the sense right now from the level of concern, whether people, as this was going on, whether people involved with the company or involved close to the former president who were nervous, noticed that he was up here and were nervous about it? And what’s the degree of worry now?

LOWELL: Yeah, well, there was. I mean, some of the officers of the company kind of saw the 2 million and then later the 6 million and saw that there’d been really no vetting or no information about the people who were lending $8 million to Trude Social’s company, effectively.

I mean, they had $12 million in cash. 8 million was a significant portion of the stuff they had in their account.

And it’s funny you say ‘it goes back to the beginning’ because in December, when the first 2 million was coming in, a lawyer emails Don Jr. and says, hey, this 2 million’s coming in.

No guarantee it’s gonna get signed, but are we gonna proceed with this?

And Don Jr. goes, thanks, John, much appreciated. Let’s go ahead with it.

And so, I don’t wanna tie too many connections to Natalia Veselnitskaya and Trump Tower, but somehow Don Jr. ends up getting involved.

And then later in February and then spring 2022, when they’re trying to audit these payments, there are flags raised and the then CFO, Philip Juhang of Trump Media, weighs returning the money.

But then they realize actually 8 million out of the 12 million is such a big segment, we don’t wanna return it.

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: All right, the Guardian’s Hugo Lowell, thank you very much for your reporting. We have a lot more to cover on this.

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