Top Citigroup official in-charge of QAnon website sent on paid leave, earned over $3k a month through crowdfunding
A top executive of Citigroup Inc. has been sent on paid leave after it was revealed that he was in charge of operation of a website linked to QAnon that was raking in over $3,000 through crowd funding a month. Jason Gelinas, the multinational bank’s senior vice president, was on September 10 identified as the operator of the website QMap.pub and its associated mobile apps by Logically.ai -- a fact-checking site, Bloomberg reported. The website has been closed down since then and now only provides links to alternative sites that provide information on QAnon conspiracy. The 48-year-old Gelinas, who is a resident of New Jersey, was placed on the leave pending an internal probe. QMap collects and organises posts made by QAnon's mysterious founder and leader, known as 'Q'.
On September 10, Logically.ai said: “A Logically investigation identifies a key QAnon figure as New Jersey resident Jason Gelinas. The investigation ties QAnon properties to a company owned by Gelinas, an information technology specialist who has held prominent positions at both Credit Suisse and Citigroup.” A Wall Street IT expert, Gelinas joined Citigroup in 2003 after his stay at Credit Suisse.
'Employees required to disclose approvals for outside business activities'
Gelinas, it has been reported, earned the money on a crowd-funded site dedicated to backing the QAnon site, according to a report by Fortune. “As outlined in our Code of Conduct, employees are required to disclose and obtain approvals for outside business activities,” Citigroup said in a statement, though stopped short to comment on Gelinas’s status.
As per SimilarWeb, QMap.pub got more than 10 million visitors in the month of July. It also served as an aggregator of “Q drops” -- anonymous posts on the website 8kun made by somebody who claims to have a high-level government security approval giving inside information.
According to the QAnon theory, President Donald Trump is fighting a “deep state” ring of child-tex traffickers. While some adherents of the theory are also in the run for public office, some others have resorted to violent acts or threatened them, according to the FBI.
Bloomberg also found that in March, QAppAnon announced via Patreon an upcoming app named ‘Armor of God’ -- a social network for QAnon followers. The app’s profile in Google Play Store calls itself as being ‘designed for patriots worldwide to create and share content including prayers, news, memes and posts’.
Bloomberg reached out to Gelinas recently but he refused to make any remark on whether he was behind the website. He said: “I’m not going to comment on any of that. I’m not going to get involved. I want to stay out of it.” He though called QAnon a “patriotic movement to save the country”.
In another development in the Citigroup, Michael Corbat, the bank’s CEO who has been serving since 2012, was set for an early retirement following revelations that federal regulators were coming up with a formal rebuke for the firm for failing to upgrade the bank’s security technology. Corbat is set for his departure in February next year and will be succeeded by Jane Fraser. While some speculated that Gelinas had a role to play in Corbat’s exit, the New York Post cited a source to say that the situations of Gelinas and Corbat had no connection.