Now The Scotsman can reveal the controversial businessman and Republican party donor, Mike Lindell, has set up shop in Britain where he is already facing a backlash amid calls to boycott his goods.
The former pig farmer and Las Vegas card counter, who overcame a crack cocaine addiction to amass a multi-million pound fortune via his bedding company, has launched a UK subsidiary of the firm, based in a nondescript industrial estate.
Better known as the 'My Pillow guy' by virtue of his business of the same name, Mr Lindell's public profile was largely confined to appearances on shopping television channels and late night infomercials on US networks before the Trump era.
But he has become one the most vocal and well resourced advocates of the disgraced former US president, having contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to Mr Trump’s failed re-election campaign and other Republican causes.
In recent weeks, Mr Lindell has been pushing the debunked theory that Mr Trump will be reinstated to the White House in August, insisting that he has a stockpile of evidence that will see the US Supreme Court overturn the result of last autumn’s election.
Mr Lindell and his firm are being sued by Dominion Voting Systems in a £920 million lawsuit, with the company accusing him of having harmed its reputation with a “viral disinformation campaign” that claimed it had rigged the election in favour of President Joe Biden.
Mr Lindell’s firm, in turn, has filed a £1.1 billion lawsuit against Dominion, accusing it of an “illegal campaign to punish and silence their critics.”
To the alarm of scientists, Mr Lindell has also pushed unsubstantiated claims that an extract from a poisonous Mediterranean plant could be used as a Covid-19 treatment, describing it as “the miracle of all time”.
Amid such activity, Mr Lindell has expanded his My Pillow company to the UK, launching a factory in the West Midlands city of Coventry.
According to its most recent accounts, it employs a monthly average of just three employees, based in an industrial park home to a builders’ merchant, a plumbing installation firm, and a branch of the budget fashion retailer, Matalan.
The low-profile launch has been stepped up of late, with My Pillow purchasing advertising space on commercial radio stations and full-page adverts in Scottish newspapers. Mr Lindell has also filmed a promotional video introducing his product to British customers.
In it, he explains: “Over here in the US, I’ve sold almost 15 million My Pillows now, and I said ‘you know what, I want to bring it to the world, I’m going to bring it right to the UK’.
“I can’t wait to get over there to you guys … I haven’t even seen my factory, but it’s going to be amazing when I finally get the chance to get over there.”
An online petition has already been set up calling on consumers to boycott Mr Lindell’s business.
It describes him as “totally unfit to be running a business in the UK” and urges people to contact media organisations to demand they refuse to carry adverts for My Pillow.
Mr Lindell’s company is coming under similar pressure in the US. In the wake of his claims of election fraud, which saw him banned from Twitter, a host of retailers have stopped stocking My Pillow products in recent months, citing flagging sales. Mr Lindell has claimed the protests against his company have been led by “bots and trolls”.
Data maintained by the US Federal Election Commission shows Mr Lindell has donated more than half a million dollars to Republican causes in recent years, including tranches of money given to Mr Trump’s failed re-election campaign.
There is no evidence that Mr Lindell, or his firm, have been engaged with British politics, but the formation of the limited company would allow it to make political donations in the future if its directors so wished, according to Steve Goodrich, head of research and investigations at Transparency International.
“So long as the firm is carrying on business in the UK and has been incorporated here, it would be permissible under the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 for it to make a donation to a political party, any of its members, or any other political organisation covered by these rules,” Mr Goodrich explained.
The Scotsman asked My Pillow why it chose the UK market for expansion, and whether Mr Lindell intended to emulate his track record of making sizeable political donations in the US. The company did not respond.
The latest accounts for the UK firm do not detail its most recent profits or losses, but show that it has net liabilities of nearly £378,000.
Companies House records show while 160,000 of the UK subsidiary’s shares are owned by its US parent company, My Pillow Inc, some 40,000 are held by Andy Wincel, who is also listed as a director of the firm.
Mr Wincel, a US national, is also a director and a trustee of Robert F Kennedy Human Rights UK, a charity set up to raise awareness and promote public support for human rights in memory of the late US senator. Its patrons include Ruth Davidson, the former Scottish Conservatives leader.
Robert F Kennedy Human Rights UK did not respond to enquiries.