Published: Thu, May 10, 2018
Global Media | By Garry Long

Companies detail payments to Trump lawyer

Companies detail payments to Trump lawyer

The Treasury Department's inspector general is reviewing whether banking information tied to a company run by President Trump's personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, was leaked. The company said it "cooperated fully, providing all information requested in November and December of 2017". "A few weeks later, our consulting contract with Cohen expired at the end of the year".

"In early 2017, as President Trump was taking office, we hired several consultants to help us understand how the President and his administration might approach a wide range of policy issues important to the company, including regulatory reform at the FCC, corporate tax reform and antitrust enforcement". Avenatti alleged that the company made four $50,000 payments to Cohen totaling $200,000 in late 2017 and early 2018. "They fail to address, let alone contradict, 99 percent of the statements in what we released", Avenatti said.

They included a subsidiary of Swiss-based drug-maker Novartis, telecom giant AT&T and Columbus Nova, an American firm tied to Russian businessman Victor Vekselberg, who is under US sanctions. The raids were carried out by federal agents looking for evidence in a criminal probe.

Avenatti has "deliberately distorted information from the records which appear to be in his possession for the objective of creating a toxic mix of misinformation", the lawyers wrote in a letter addressed to Judge Kimba Wood, who is hearing the case in NY.

Cohen's filing was the first comment from his side since Avenatti published his own research Tuesday.

But Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani indicated on Fox News last week that the President reimbursed Cohen, which the White House later said happened through standard legal fees and expenditures.

The telecom giant complied, and released a statement Wednesday night explaining what went down. It says its contract with him expired in December 2017.

Among the claims Cohen says are incorrect: A wire transfer he supposedly received, sent to an account in Toronto, was actually received by a Canadian citizen named Michael Cohen for foreign aid work the Canadian Cohen did in Tanzania.

Already under investigation for a payment to a porn star, President Donald Trump's longtime personal attorney is facing intensifying legal and ethical scrutiny for selling his Trump World experience and views at a hefty price to companies that sought "insight" into the new president. South Korea's Korea Aerospace Industries Ltd (KAI) said it hired the consultancy for services on accounting matters.

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"It's really short-sighted for the media to take nearly everything this guy says as gospel, and I think they're embarrassing themselves every night on this".

"The bank statements belong to the company Cohen set up to silence Stormy Daniels, "Essential Consultants" because "P*rn Star Payoffs Incorporated" was taken", Stephen Colbert said to the laughter of the audience.

Cohen's attorneys refer in their court filing Wednesday to the public denial by Columbus Nova.

Novartis didn't respond to questions about what services it expected Cohen would provide and why it would have agreed to pay Cohen $1.2 million before hashing out the details of the work.

In television interviews with ABC News and MSNBC, Avenatti declined to say how he obtained information about the payments.

After the Federal Bureau of Investigation raided Cohen's home, office and hotel in April, Mueller issued a referral to the U.S. Attorney's office in the Southern District of NY.

Daniels' attorney, Michael Avenatti, wrote on Twitter on Tuesday that Cohen had accepted $500,000 from a Russian oligarch and that money may have been used as reimbursement for Cohen's payment to Daniels.

Cohen paid Daniels $130,000 in October 2016 to stay silent about her alleged tryst with Trump in 2006.

Inspector basic counsel Wealthy Delmar stated the company's actions stemmed from its authority because the federal company that analyzes banking data for potential criminality. Under the Bank Secrecy Act, financial institutions must monitor their customers' activities and report suspicious transactions to the government.

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