09 May, 2018
The lawyer for adult film star Stormy Daniels says US President Donald Trump's longtime lawyer Michael Cohen received $US500,000 ($665,000) from a Russian billionaire in the months after the 2016 US election.
Earlier on Tuesday, the attorney for porn star Stormy Daniels said Mr. Vekselberg had funneled $500,000 through shell companies to Mr. Cohen, a claim consistent with CNN's reporting about the Mueller probe, although the network said it "has not independently authenticated" that claim.
The business relationship between Cohen and Vekselberg, as well as the goal of those payments, are unclear.
Of that money, payments totaling approximately $500,000 were made by investment firm Columbus Nova in 2017, The Times reported.
According to the report, Novartis $NVS made four wire payments of $99,980 each, just under the $100,000 mark, which Avenatti noted began last fall and were wrapped in early January of this year, just weeks before soon-to-be CEO Vas Narasimhan met with Trump in Davos. Cohen has not been charged with any crime, and both he and his attorney have maintained that he has done nothing improper.
An attorney for Cohen, Steve Ryan, told Atlantic reporter Natasha Bertrand that he wouldn't discuss Avenatti's claim.
"We are highly confident this is 100 percent accurate", Avenatti said.More news: Arizona Senate OKs budget with big teacher raise
AT&T said in a statement obtained by The Hill that Cohen's company "was one of several firms we engaged in early 2017 to provide insights into understanding the new administration". Avenatti identified Columbus Nova as the USA affiliate of Vekselberg-controlled company Renova Group firm and Intrater as Columbus Nova's CEO. Columbus Nova is exclusively owned and controlled by Americans, the company said in a statement. We will update this post accordingly if we receive a response. "Neither Viktor Vekselberg nor anyone else other than Columbus Nova's owners was involved in the decision to hire Cohen or provided funding for his engagement".
This is one of the newest developments in Mueller's investigation into Russian dealings. "Any suggestion that at any point in time Viktor Vekselberg or any of his companies owned or exercised any control over Columbus Nova is patently untrue".
Vekselberg had crossed paths with officials in Trump's inner circle prior to the real estate mogul's run for president.
Vekselberg was also a guest at a now-notorious December 2015 dinner in Moscow celebrating the RT television channel, which was attended by Putin and Michael Flynn, Trump's former national security adviser. During Ross' confirmation hearings, a group of six Democratic senators raised questions about the nominee's ties to Vekselberg.
She is suing Trump for defamation, and has also sought to be released from the non-disclosure agreement.
The White House wasn't available to comment on the story.
The payments, according to CNN, were made by Vekselberg's company's US affiliate.