- Three corporations – Novartis, Korea Aerospace Industries, and AT&T – paid a firm linked to President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen.
- The payments to Cohen were made to Essential Consulting and were revealed by Michael Avenatti, the lawyer representing the adult-film star Stormy Daniels in her court cases against Trump and Cohen.
- Here’s a rundown of how much the three companies paid and their explanations of the payments.
Three corporations are facing questions on Wednesday after making large payments to a consulting firm linked to President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen.
Novartis, a Swiss pharmaceutical firm; Korea Aerospace Industries, a South Korean defence contractor; and AT&T, the massive US telecom, all paid Cohen-linked Essential Consulting more than $US150,000.
Reasons for the payments varied from insight into the Trump administration to help with US accounting rules.
Michael Avenatti, the lawyer representing the adult-film star Stormy Daniels, revealed the payments on Tuesday in a report that detailed Cohen’s finances.
In addition to the payments from the companies, the report alleged that a $US500,000 payment from Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg to a separate LLC shortly after the 2016 election helped pay alleged hush money to Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford.
We’ve run down the full list of companies that paid Cohen, how much they paid, and what they said they paid for below.
Healthcare giant Novartis paid Cohen $US1.2 million in a year.
Novartis, one of the largest pharmaceutical firms in the world, confirmed the payment on Wednesday.
In a series of statements, the Swiss drugmaker clarified that the company had a year-long contract with Essential that paid $US100,000 a month and “focused on US healthcare policy matters.”
An employee told STAT News that Cohen reached out to Novartis’s then-CEO Joe Jimenez promising help gaining access to Trump.
The company determined after meeting with Cohen that the lawyer’s assistance was not helpful.
“Following this initial meeting, Novartis determined that Michael Cohen and Essential Consultants would be unable to provide the services that Novartis had anticipated related to US healthcare policy matters and the decision was taken not to engage further,”Novartis said in a statement.
South Korean defence company Korea Aerospace Industries paid Cohen $US150,000 in November 2017.
The company, which is partly owned by the South Korean government’s Export-Import bank, confirmed the payment and claimed the money was for “legal consulting concerning accounting standards on production costs.”
It was a one-time payment that came at the end of contact with Essential, the firm said.
Korea Aerospace is currently partnered with Lockheed Martin on a bid to win a US Air Force contract. The contract winner would supply the Air Force with training aircraft and receive up to $US16.3 billion.
AT&T paid Cohen at least $US200,000 in four installments from late 2017 to early 2018.
The telecom giant confirmed the payment and said Cohen was paid to help AT&T better understand the Trump administration.
“Essential Consulting was one of several firms we engaged in early 2017 to provide insights into understanding the new administration,” AT&T said in a statement Tuesday evening. “They did no legal or lobbying work for us, and the contract ended in December 2017.”
AT&T is currently in the midst of a legal battle with the Trump administration over a proposed merger with Time Warner.
A source told CNBC on Wednesday that AT&T may have paid Cohen up to $US600,000, but said it “wasn’t to pay for access to the president.”
SEE ALSO: A Korean aerospace company caught up in the latest Michael Cohen scandal is ‘well placed’ to win an Air Force contract worth up to $US16.3 billion
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