LONDON–A man linked by US prosecutors to suspicious financing of a company belonging to Donald Trump has also made a substantial donation to Trump’s rival Ron DeSantis.
Anton Postolnikov, with a given address in Miami Beach, Florida, appears on a public register of “friends of Ron DeSantis” as having given $30,000 on 29 March 2021 to the campaign for the Republican Governor of Florida.
DeSantis is considered the likeliest Republican candidate for the 2024 US presidential elections. His representatives at the Florida governor’s office did not return several requests to comment and phone calls.
DeSantis is currently facing criticism from top echelons of his own party and elsewhere for referring to the Russian invasion of Ukraine as a “territorial dispute”.
Postolnikov is the owner of Paxum Bank, a fintech lender in Dominica, connected to a controversial payments app with the same name, that alongside Hungary’s top bank OTP has got embroiled in a prominent fraud case in Romania. Paxum specializes in electronic payments to the adult industry.
Reporter has covered that story exclusively in June 2022. The fraud case is ongoing in Bucharest, involving funds withdrawn from Paxum’s Romanian accounts by allegedly corrupt bankers and alleged former Paxum insiders using falsified paperwork.
Meanwhile, Paxum has come to the attention of US prosecutors for its role in $8 million worth of suspect funding to the Trump Media organization, the Guardian newspaper revealed on March 15, citing sources close to the investigation. Paxum allegedly lent $2 million to the Trump company.
Postolnikov, listed in publicly available official documents as a co-owner of Paxum Bank, is also according to the Guardian report citing U.S. prosecutors, a relative of Aleksandr Smirnov, a long-term political ally and underling of Russian dictator Vladimir Putin, both of whom hail from Sankt Petersburg.
There is no suggestion of illegality on the part of Postolnikov.
Postolnikov separately runs a London-based fintech, Paydek, which uses the same website design as companies in the Paxum group. Both Paydek and Postolnikov are licensed to operate by the Financial Conduct Authority, the British markets regulator.
Postolnikov did not answer a request to comment submitted via Paydek. Subsequent phone calls and LinkedIn messages to Paydek representatives have been left unanswered. Like Paxum, Paydek has offices in Romania.
UPDATE: After the publication of the Guardian article and this article, an article was published on March 16 on a Dominican news website, Nature Isle News Service, citing Postolnikov as he denies all allegations including those from prosecutors referred to in the Guardian. Paxum Bank is based in Dominica. Postolnikov is cited as saying he is not a relative of any Putin ally. “Contrary to what the Guardian article states, Anton has absolutely no relationship with any Putin allies, and he has no relationship with any person or entity sanctioned by the United States government,” according to the article.
Regarding the loans to Trump Media, their existence is not denied nor confirmed as Paxum invokes client confidentiality.
“Paxum Bank’s compliance department determines the source of funds for all such transactions to ensure that all Anti- Money Laundering regulations are adhered to, including verification of source of funds,” according to the article. Paxum further denies lending Russian money or any form of malfeasance, and says it “routinely” rejects client funds because of their Russian origin.
The article says that Postolnikov has elsewhere been subject to defamatory blog posts “originating in Russia” designed “to blackmail Anton into paying bitcoin to remove the stories from the internet,” adding that a judge ordered that these posts be removed.
“Naturally, Paxum Bank and Anton are exploring legal options for defamation against the Guardian and others, and will not tolerate the spread of false information that negatively impacts their business operations,” the article says.
The communication does not address the apparent donation to Ron DeSantis from Postolnikov.
This article was updated on March 17 to reflect the position taken by Postolnikov as reported by Nature Isle News Service.