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Why AT&T's $200000 payment to Michael Cohen is a bombshell

09 May 2018

According to Avenatti, Novartis made four payments of $99,980 into the account in late 2017 and early 2018. The companies later confirmed the payments.

The TV channel reported that it concerned hundreds of thousands of dollars, and the goal of payments and the nature of the business relationship between attorney Michael Cohen and Viktor Vekselberg were still unclear. Renova Group is a conglomerate controlled by Mr Vekselberg.

Avenatti named three companies, besides Columbus Nova, that he said transferred money into the account at First Republic.

Vekselberg was among seven Kremlin-linked oligarchs the Trump administration targeted with sanctions last month. The objective of the payments, which predate the sanctions, and the nature of the business relationship between Vekselberg and Cohen is unclear. This is connected to Cohen's payments to Stormy Daniels, which were through shell company Essential Consultants, a consulting firm he set up.

A person close to Mr. Intrater reported that the executive hadn't any idea Essential Consultants was used for its distinct payment on Ms. Clifford, also that he employed a range of different advisers at that full time for similar prices. A company spokesperson said it had contracted Trump's attorney to "provide insights into understanding the new administration".

AT&T said Cohen's company "did no legal or lobbying work for us, and the contract ended in December 2017".

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Richard Owens, a Latham & Watkins lawyer who represents Columbus Nova, said Vekselberg did not provide any funding for and was not involved in the hiring of Cohen.

President Trump has denied a liaison with Clifford.

Avenatti's comments came a day after he disclosed the payments to a firm controlled by Cohen in 2017 and 2018, after Trump won the November 2016 presidential election. The reason for the payment was not known.

Cohen's lawyers have fought in court to restrict prosectors' access to the material seized in those raids.

Rudy Giuliani, Trump's new personal lawyer, told HuffPost on Wednesday that the Cohen news has absolutely nothing to do with the president.

According to @MichaelAvenatti, Novartis paid $399k to Michael Cohen's consulting firm. Each has important business considerations with the US government.

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"Mr. Trump and Mr. Cohen have a lot of explaining to do", Avenatti wrote.

In February 2017, Novartis inked the one-year pact with Essential Consultants that the Swiss company said was focused on USA healthcare policy.

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Cohen is seen as one of Trump's most loyal aides and rose to a level of seniority at the Trump Organization that is rare for someone outside the president's family.

The payments, according to the report, did not stop there.

The Washington Post reported that two of Vekselberg's US associates donated a combined total of $1.25 million to Trump's inaugural committee.

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Vekselberg reportedly was questioned at an airport this year by members of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team investigating alleged Russian collusion in the 2016 presidential election.

Why AT&T's $200000 payment to Michael Cohen is a bombshell