Citigroup said it has placed an employee on paid leave after he was unmasked as the operator of a popular website linked with the conspiracy group QAnon.
Jason Gelinas — a 48-year-old resident of Berkeley Heights, New Jersey, who is a senior vice president in the technology group at Citi, according to a now-defunct LinkedIn account — was revealed last week to be the man behind QMap, a user-friendly website that collected and organized the various postings of Q, the pseudonym of QAnon’s mysterious founder and leader.
In a statement, Citi said it has placed Gelinas on paid leave for violating the megabank’s guidelines for employees. Gelinas was earning more than $3,000 a month on a crowd-funded Patreon site dedicated to supporting the QAnon site, which he said helped cover the monthly operating costs, according to Bloomberg.
“As outlined in our Code of Conduct, employees are required to disclose and obtain approvals for outside business activities,” Citi said in a Thursday statement.
Gelinas was outed last week by Logically, a fact-checking news site whose investigation also found that he was a longtime Wall Street IT expert who joined Citi in 2003 after a stint at Credit Suisse.
Reached by Bloomberg outside his home last week, Gelinas described QAnon — a conspiracy theory that claims President Donald Trump is battling a “deep state” ring of child-sex traffickers — as “a patriotic movement to save the country.”
Gelinas appears to be a major player in the secretive QAnon structure. His QMap site, which is now largely shut down, had more than 10 million users in July alone.
Gelinas’ apparent employment at Citi’s information technology division could also signal he’s part of a group that may have played a key role in the early retirement of the bank’s CEO, Michael Corbat.
According to reports last week, Corbat’s exit was hastened after it became clear that federal regulators are preparing a formal reprimand for Citi for failing to upgrade the bank’s outdated technology systems that protect it from risky behavior and other online threats.
A source familiar with Gelinas’ role at Citi told The Post that his unmasking and Corbat’s resignation “have nothing to do with each other.”
On Sept. 10, Citi announced that Corbat will retire in February 2021, elevating Jane Fraser to CEO and making her the first woman to hold that role at a top-four American bank.