Published: Sat, May 26, 2018
Sports | By Brett Lawson

Trump lawyer Cohen's business partner cooperating with prosecutors - NY Times

Trump lawyer Cohen's business partner cooperating with prosecutors - NY Times

Donald Trump's personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, received a secret payment of at least $400,000 (£300,000) to fix talks between the Ukrainian president and President Trump, according to sources in Kiev close to those involved.

Former New York City "Taxi King" Evgeny Freidman's cooperation with authorities could put more pressure on Cohen - whose businesses are being probed by the United States attorney's office in Manhattan - to pursue a plea agreement himself on possible federal charges.

Freidman's lawyer, Patrick Egan, declined to comment on the Times report.

Freidman, 46, was once the largest operator of taxi medallions, owning about 800 of the plates that allow taxis to operate in NY, and had helped bring Cohen into the taxi business.

Freidman's agreement, given his ties to Cohen as a business partner, may put still more pressure on the Trump associate and attorney, who faced federal raids in April before the Justice Department announced it had been conducting a months-long investigation into him. "Freidman pocketed money that should have provided much-needed investment in our transit system - and he'll now have to pay back every cent".

"[Cohen is a] dear dear personal friend and a passive client!" That's it! This is a very hard day for myself and my family! "I am humbled and shamed!" he said, adding that the guilty plea represented "me taking responsibility for my actions". I had been an officer of the court in excess of 20 years and now I am a felon!

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It also threatened to pull out of a summit with US President Donald Trump, scheduled for June 12 in Singapore. Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Trump was referring to a commitment to seriously discuss denuclearization.

Cohen tweeted Wednesday that he was "one of the thousands" of licensed taxi operators who turned to management companies.

Cohen's duties for Trump included setting up a $130,000 nondisclosure agreement with porn star Stephanie Clifford, known as Stormy Daniels, who has alleged she had a sexual encounter with the then-real estate mogul in 2006.

Federal prosecutors have sought records related to loans that Michael Cohen took out against his taxi business. In pleading guilty to a single count of criminal tax fraud, Freidman will be sentenced to five years' probation, the attorney general's office said.

He in turn used personal contacts in a Jewish charity in NY state, Chabad of Port Washington.

"I can not comment on any speculation regarding what the entry of the plea indicates regarding any case other than my client's", he said.

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