Nigel Farage’s new employer is part-owned by a wealthy British businessman and Donald Trump supporter who has promoted the far-right QAnon conspiracy.
Dutch Green Business (DGB) Group, which says it aims to offset carbon dioxide emissions by planting trees, announced its appointment of Farage as the first member of its advisory board on Sunday.
It was described by the company as Farage’s first commercial role outside frontline politics after resigning from the successor to the Brexit party he founded. Farage, who has previously derided the “alarmism” of climate activists, has also turned to selling videos of himself online as well as providing investment tips to make money since retiring from politics.
DGB’s “founding chairman” is John Mappin, an heir to the Mappin and Webb jewellery business who turned his hand to financing conservative political causes. Mappin introduced Farage to DGB last year. Farage will earn a monthly retainer from DGB to promote it, but is not a salaried employee.
Mappin was involved in the creation of Turning Point UK, a British offshoot of a US group that is aimed at promoting rightwing causes among young people. Both Mappin and Turning Point were supporters of Trump during his presidency. Mappin and Farage both attended a Turning Point UK fundraising dinner in 2019, and the businessman has been photographed with Trump at a Republican party fundraiser in Washington.
Mappin owns the Victorian-era Camelot Castle hotel in Tintagel, Cornwall, which flew a “Q” flag that was thought to refer to the QAnon conspiracy.
The US Federal Bureau of Investigation has identified the QAnon conspiracy – falsehoods grouped around a repeatedly disproven belief that Trump was secretly waging war on a “deep state” paedophile ring – as a contributor towards encouraging rightwing violence.
Mappin has also personally shared conspiracies online, according to Politico. The Daily Mail in 2019 reported that Mappin was a “practising Scientologist” and highlighted his social media posts praising Vladimir Putin.
Mappin’s Camelot Castle TV Network, a video channel hosted by Facebook, last year published a video conversation between Mappin, his wife and a guest who railed against government regulations requiring people to wear masks to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Mappin himself has mocked mask-wearing rules on other videos.
Mappin and his wife, Irina Kudrenok-Mappin, each own 14.9% of DGB’s shares. Another 30% of the company is controlled by Stichting Dutch Green Foundation, which was founded last summer by the DGB chief executive, Selwyn Duijvestijn, and two other people. DGB took over the shell of a printing company listed on the Amsterdam stock exchange.
In a post on Friday a CamelotTV Telegram channel forwarded a screenshot of DGB’s share price from Duijvestijn. That was followed on Sunday by a post linking to a video of David Icke about Covid. Icke has in the past been criticised for antisemitic conspiracy theories.
Duijvestijn told the Guardian that he was not aware of the Telegram group, but acknowledged that Mappin is “very outspoken”. When asked if DGB endorsed Mappin’s beliefs he said “No, of course not.”
“DGB or myself I am not involved in any way with Q[Anon] or David Icke,” Duijvestijn said. “We’re not political. We’re just planting trees.”
The Mappins are “supporters for many human rights organisations and many anti-racist organisations”, Duijvestijn said.
Farage “has a heart for nature,” Duijvestijn added.
A spokesman for DGB confirmed that the social media accounts belonged to Mappin and said: “John Mappin’s personal views are his own and have nothing to do with DGB.
“Mr Mappin is not involved in any way with the running or organisation of QAnon, he simply had an interest in it given his journalist background and the fact that the phenomena was often seen in the Trump campaign of 2020. He flew the flag at his home in Cornwall to raise awareness as he, and others, predicted very early on that it would feature in the 2020 elections and as a bit of fun.”