Thursday, May 23, 2024
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Former Digital World Acquisition Corp. CEO accuses successor of hacking

Two former executives of the firm that recently purchased Truth Social are embroiled in a lawsuit related to the acquisition of Trump’s social media company, Wired reports. The former CEO of the Digital World Acquisition Corp. (DWAC) — the special purpose acquisition company that was created to purchase the Trump Media & Technology Group — is suing his successor for allegedly hacking his private accounts as part of a “coup d’etat.” 

The details are fairly messy. Patrick Orlando, the CEO of DWAC until March 2023, claims he was ousted by Eric Swider, a Trump Media board member who was appointed CEO immediately after Orlando was fired. (Swider served as CEO until March of this year.) Orlando filed the suit against Swider through the Benessere Investment Group, a company he controls, according to Wired’s report. 

After Orlando was fired, Swider enlisted his former personal assistant, Alexander Cano, to help him improperly gain access to Orlando’s accounts, the suit claims. Cano allegedly accessed an electronic storage account at Box.com tied to Benessere and ARC Global Investments II — a separate fund Orlando organized that provided financing for the deal to acquire Truth Social — that contained the login information for Orlando’s Mailchimp and DocuSign accounts, as well as his confidential files. Cano passed the “stolen information” along to Swider, the suit claims.

Per the suit, Swider then used Orlando’s Mailchimp account to email ARC II’s investors about the Truth Social deal after Orlando’s firing. “Mr. Orlando’s leadership has guided our common interests with DWAC directly into the arms of the SEC, the DOJ, lengthy delays and costly investigations,” Swider wrote, according to Wired. “By filing this lawsuit against DWAC, Mr. Orlando is destroying the value that may be realized upon consummation of the business combination by the Company and its members.” Swider also invited investors onto a series of Zoom calls to “understand our risk exposure based on leadership that continues to march us down a path of mis-information, hidden information, and self dealing.”

Orlando’s tenure at DWAC was indeed a rocky one. The proposed Trump Media-DWAC merger was delayed for years, due in part to probes by both the Securities and Exchange Commission and federal criminal investigators. Those delays cost DWAC $100 million, CNBC reported in 2023. 

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