Stormy Daniels' lawyer alleges Trump attorney Cohen received $500000 from Russian oligarch

Marsha Scott
May 9, 2018

Stormy Daniels' attorney Michael Avenatti has outlined a series of "suspicious financial transactions" involving close to $400,000 in payments Novartis made to the account of Essential Consultants, which was earlier used by Donald Trump's personal attorney Michael Cohen to pay $130,000 to the adult film actress to keep her silent about allegations of an affair with the president.

In a memo posted online Tuesday afternoon, Avenatti alleged that Cohen received the following payments after the 2016 election: approximately half-a-million dollars from a company linked to Viktor Vekselberg, a Russian oligarch with close ties to the Kremlin; almost $400,000 from pharmaceutical giant Novartis; $150,000 from Korea Aerospace Industries and $200,000 from telecommunications conglomerate AT&T.

It said Novartis Investments S.A.R.L., a subsidiary of Switzerland-based pharmaceutical giant Novartis, made four payments of $99,980 each to Cohen's company between October and January.

Cohen and his attorney did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

AT&T spokeswoman Megan Ketterer said in a written statement: "Essential Consultants was one of several firms we engaged in early 2017 to provide insights into understanding the new administration".

Such a confidential relationship would not violate federal lobbying laws if Cohen did not seek to influence Trump on the companies' behalf.

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The revelation comes as AT&T spars with the US Justice Department over the right to acquire Time Warner. Columbus Nova said in a statement late Tuesday that the firm's work with Cohen was not improper. There also was a $150,000 payment in November 2017 from Korea Aerospace Industries Ltd., a manufacturer of aircraft, including jets, helicopters and unmanned vehicles, according to the summary.

Other transactions described in the financial records range from hundreds of thousands of dollars in payments by Fortune 500 firms with business before the Trump administration, to small amounts related to unexplained activities in foreign countries.

The longtime Trump lawyer opened two accounts at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC and deposited three cheques totalling just over US$1 million that came from the Essential Consulting account, Mr Avenatti said.

Mr Cohen has noted in court that Mr Trump was one of three legal clients he had past year, but that he had 10 other clients for whom he did unspecified business work.

Vekselberg was targeted for US sanctions by the Trump administration last month.

The Hill has reached out to Cohen's attorney Stephen Ryan for comment.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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