Michael Cohen was secretly paid at least $400,000 by Ukraine to arrange talks between President Donald Trump and Ukranian president Petro Poroshenko last year at the White House, the BBC is reporting.
Trump knew nothing of the payment, the BBC is reporting, but he did take a brief meeting with Poroshenko last June.
However, the meeting was in doubt even as Poroshenko was en route to the U.S., infuriating Ukranian officials that Cohen took the money, reportedly as high as $600,000, despite not being able to make good on his promise, the BBC reports.
Payment was made to Cohen through intermediaries of Poroshenko, the BBC reports. Further, Cohen was not a registered as an agent for Ukraine, which would have been required by U.S. law.
"Poroshenko's inner circle were shocked by how dirty this whole arrangement (with Cohen) was," a Ukranian source told the BBC.
Poroshenko was desperate for the appearance of substantive meetings with Trump after reports out of Ukraine that he authorized a leak to The New York Times linking the payment of millions of dollars to Paul Manafort from pro-Russian interests in Ukraine, BBC reports.
All because Poroshenko thought Hillary Clinton was going to win the White House, goes the report. Hence, the red-faced Poroshenko needed a chance to make good with Trump.
Which he did, thanks to Cohen.
In return, Poroshenko gave Trump "a gift," the BBC reports; stifling the investigation into Manafort. Ukraine's National Anti Corruption Bureau announced it was no longer investigating Manafort a week after Poroshenko returned to Kiev.
It handed off the case to the state prosecutor's office, the BBC reports.
"There was never a direct order to stop the Manafort inquiry but from the way our investigation has progressed, it's clear that our superiors are trying to create obstacles," Serhiy Horbatyuk, the prosecutor in charge of the case, told the BBC.
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