Trump Media executive, whistleblower, claims company violated federal securities laws | donald trump

The co-founder of Donald Trump’s embattled social media company has emerged as a whistleblower, alleging the company violated federal securities laws and the former president pressured executives to quit. ‘they hand over lucrative shares to his wife.

Will Wilkerson, a former executive at Trump Media and Technology Group, told the US government’s financial watchdog that the company’s bid to raise more than $1 billion through an investment vehicle known as special purpose acquisition company (Spac), was based on “fraudulent misrepresentation…in violation of federal securities laws.

Trump Media and Technology Group is the company that launched Trump’s Truth Social platform after Twitter and Facebook banned the ex-president for his role in the deadly Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

Wilkerson, who was fired as senior vice president of operations last week after speaking to The Washington Post, filed a whistleblower complaint with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in august. He backed up his complaint with a cache of emails, documents, messages and audio recordings that detail a pattern of spiteful infighting, technical incompetence and power struggles within Trump Media since its launch. Last year.

Among the emails is an exchange between Wilkerson and his co-founder Andy Litinsky, who was allegedly fired as a reward for refusing to hand over some of his shares, worth millions of dollars, to former first lady Melania Trump. , according to the Post. Trump had already received 90% of the company’s stock in exchange for the use of his name and minor involvement.

In the email provided to the SEC, Litinsky, who first met Trump in 2004 as a contestant on The Apprentice TV show, said Trump was “retaliating against me” by threatening to ” “blow up the business” if its demands are not met”.

The SEC was already investigating the Trump media merger with Spac, Digital World Acquisition Corp, which has been on hold since last October due to civil and criminal investigations as well as lackluster investor support.

Wilkerson’s attorneys said he was cooperating with SEC investigators, and New York-based federal prosecutors are also investigating allegations of criminality at Trump Media in connection with the merger that allegedly led to a 1.3 injection. billion dollars. Digital World’s share price plunged to below $18 on Friday from a high of $175.

Investors were promised more than 50 million users by 2024, but so far Trump, the platform’s main draw, has less than 5 million subscribers – just a fraction of the 88 million he had on Twitter.

The whistleblower complaint was first reported by the Miami Herald, but Trump Media fired Wilkerson last Thursday, citing his “unauthorized disclosures” to the Post. His attorney Phil Brewster described the move as “blatant retaliation against an SEC whistleblower of the worst kind.”

Trump and company’s legal woes — and desperate actions — are piling up as he faces federal and state investigations in New York, Georgia and Washington DC into his business practices and lies about the flight of victory in the 2020 presidential race.

Last month, the office of New York Attorney General Letitia James sent a criminal referral to Manhattan federal prosecutors and the IRS regarding several possible crimes, including uncovered bank fraud. In a separate civil lawsuit, the attorney general is seeking $250 million in damages, alleging that Trump, three of his adult children, his business organization and others submitted years of fraudulent financial statements.

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