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Trump Media executives worried over murky $8m loans, emails reveal

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Top executives at Donald Trump’s social media company started to become concerned last spring about $8m that they had accepted from opaque entities in two emergency loans when its auditors sought further details about the payments, according to documents, emails and sources familiar with the matter.The payments had come at a critical time for Trump Media – which runs the Truth Social platform – because it was running out of cash after its planned merger with a blank check company known as DWAC that would have unlocked $1.3bn in capital stalled pending an SEC investigation.But the financing, which came in the form of a $2m loan from an entity called Paxum Bank registered in Dominica in December 2021 and a $6m loan from a entity called ES Family Trust in February 2022, had been arranged in a hurry and Trump Media knew next to nothing about the emergency lenders.The executives had good reason to be concerned: a subsequent examination revealed that the trustee of ES Family Trust was simultaneously a director of Paxum Bank, and one of the part-owners of the bank would turn out to be the relation of an ally of the Russian president, Vladimir Putin.And, months after Trump Media came under criminal investigation for the merger by the US attorney’s office for the southern district of New York, federal prosecutors started to examine whether the company violated money-laundering statutes over the payments, the Guardian revealed on Wednesday.Around that time, Trump Media’s chief financial officer, Phillip Juhan, weighed returning the money because of the opaque nature of its origins, former Trump Media co-founder turned whistleblower Will Wilkerson recounted in an interview.But the money was ultimately not returned, Wilkerson said,

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