Michael Cohen Got $1M Deal From Firm Tied To Russian Oligarch Viktor Vekselberg Before Trump Inauguration
New details have emerged regarding President Donald Trump‘s longtime personal lawyer Michael Cohen and his contacts with Viktor Vekselberg, a billionaire Russian oligarch linked to private equity firm Columbus Nova.
Michael Cohen Met With Russian Oligarch In Trump Tower
According to a New York Times report on Friday, Cohen met with Vekselberg at Trump Tower 11 days before the president’s inauguration last year. The Times cited video footage and another individual who was at the meeting.
Vekselberg and Cohen reportedly discussed the possibility of improving U.S.-Russia relations under Trump. Andrew Intrater, an American businessman who is Vekselberg’s cousin, also attended the meeting. He is the head of Columbus Nova, which reportedly gave Cohen a $1 million consulting contract.
Intrater stated he did not personally have any role in enlisting Cohen as a consultant. Intrater also told the Times that had he known more about Trump’s attorney and fixer beforehand, he would not have hired him.
“Obviously, if I’d known in January 2017 that I was about to hire this high-profile guy who’d wind up in this big mess, I wouldn’t have introduced him to my biggest client, and wouldn’t have hired him at all,” Columbus Nova’s chief executive stated.
Cohen is already engulfed in several financial scandals and is being probed for bank fraud and campaign finance violations. It was recently revealed than in 2017 he and his company Essential Consultants, LLC received hundreds of thousands of dollars from other major companies like AT&T, drug giants Novartis, and Korea Aerospace Industries in exchange for providing “insight” into the Trump administration and its policies regarding those firm’s industries. Some people even suggested Cohen may have been selling access to the president by receiving this money.
Cohen is also known for his investments in New York City taxi cab medallions. Earlier this week, Cohen’s business partner Evgeny Friedman took a plea deal from special counsel Robert Mueller, who is leading the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Friedman, a Russian immigrant, also holds large stakes in taxis and is even known in some circles as the “Taxi King,” according to reports. Friedman was accused of evading around $50,000 worth of taxes.
Trump’s lawyer is also being investigated for his $130,000 payment in hush money to porn star Stormy Daniels before the 2016 election. Trump and Daniels had an affair in 2006, and she is suing the president and his attorney for defamation of character, and is claiming the non-disclosure agreement she and Trump reached about the affair is invalid because the former Apprentice star never signed it. The FBI raided Cohen’s home, office and hotel room on April 9 for records related to the payment to Daniels, among other issues, and is currently reviewing the materials.
Daniels’ attorney Michael Avenatti has slammed Trump and Cohen repeatedly in television appearances and on Twitter, and said he doesn’t believe the president will serve out his term.
“With each passing day” it just “gets worse and worse” for Michael Cohen – @MichaelAvenatti
He “should cut a deal sooner rather than later” pic.twitter.com/yBEII2vkCg
— TheBeat w/Ari Melber (@TheBeatWithAri) May 24, 2018
Besides the meeting between Cohen and Vekselberg, another encounter at Trump Tower has been heavily inspected. A meeting at the building in New York during the summer of 2016 between Donald Trump Jr., Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya and other individuals has been thoroughly documented after it was revealed the president’s eldest son accepted to participate in the meeting after being promised to receive damaging information about his father’s political opponent, Hillary Clinton. The transcripts from Trump Jr.’s testimony before Congress about the infamous meeting were released last week.