Drugmaker Novartis Says It Paid Cohen, Has Cooperated With Mueller's Team

Hugh Fox
May 10, 2018

Blumenthal said those payments "may well have been used to influence the president of the United States, using Michael Cohen and his shell company as a conduit".

AT&T on Wednesday declined to reveal when asked by CNBC how much it had actually paid Cohen under the contract, which it said the company entered into because it wanted "insights" on the Trump administration. The company said in one of several statements about the matter that it was contacted past year by attorneys in Mueller's office regarding its arrangement with Cohen.

"We were obviously surprised when the government made a decision to try and block the merger", he said during a conference call in January.

Spokeswoman Sofina Mirza-Reid said in a statement that Novartis signed a one-year agreement with Cohen and Essential Consultants in February of 2017, after Trump's inauguration.

After only one meeting, however, executives concluded Cohen "would be unable to provide the services that Novartis had anticipated", according to the company, and decided "not to engage further". Cohen has claimed that he paid Daniels out of his own pocket, using a home-equity loan to secure the funds.

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The statement goes on to note that the integrity tool will require the advertiser to verify their location. Our goal is simple: "to help ensure a free, fair and transparent vote on this important issue".

Mueller is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, as well as possible collusion by the Trump campaign in that interference. Last month the Federal Bureau of Investigation even raided Cohen's home and office, seizing papers and electronic devices. Prosecutors have said the inquiry relates to Cohen's personal finances.

The company's confirmation came after Michael Avenatti, a lawyer for adult-film actress Stormy Daniels, circulated on Twitter a document purporting to show a detailed accounting of wire transfers made to Essential Consultants, a company established by Cohen in October 2016.

AT&T, based in Dallas, made four payments of $50,000 apiece around the end of past year, according to Avenatti.

Jimenez did not respond to requests for comment.

Longtime Trump attorney Michael Cohen.

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Companies including AT&T wanted to know what to make of Trump and his advisers and evidently were paying Cohen to find out. Reports today that Viktor Vekselberg used Columbus Nova as a conduit for payments to Michael Cohen are false. A lawyer for Columbus Nova, in a statement on Tuesday, described the money as a consulting fee that had nothing to do with Mr. Vekselberg. He has not been accused of any wrongdoing.

Several of the companies named in Avenatti's memo - including Novartis, AT&T and Columbus Nova, a firm with ties to a Russian oligarch - have since confirmed the payments.

Cohen, the Trump attorney best known for paying $130,000 to adult film actress Stormy Daniels, is under investigation by the US attorney's office for the Southern District of NY. The arrangement was later disclosed by reporters.

Companies routinely pay Washington advisers for strategic advice and access to policy issues.

A spokesman confirmed the payment to Bloomberg, noting that the contract was legal in nature.

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