Donald Trump's personal attorney was paid more than $1 million to advise Novartis, one of the world's biggest drug manufacturers, but lawyer Michael Cohen was unable to do the job, the pharmaceutical giant said Wednesday.
Novartis believed Cohen "could advise the company as to how the Trump administration might approach certain U.S. health-care policy matters, including the Affordable Care Act," CNBC reports.
But one month after inking a deal with Cohen's shell company, Essential Consultants, Novartis determined that Cohen and Essentials Consultants "would be unable to provide the services" the company "had anticipated."
Still, Novartis kept paying Cohen, because, the company said, "unfortunately, [the contract] could only be terminated for cause, payments continued to be made until the contract expired by its own terms in February 2018."
Essential Consultants is the company Cohen used to pay $130,000 in hush money to porn star Stormy Daniels on the eve of the 2016 presidential election to buy her silence over an affair she claims she had with Trump in 2006.
The Novartis payment was bared on Twitter by Daniels' attorney, Michael Avenatti who also claimed that Cohen received $500,000 from a Russian billionaire in the months after the 2016 U.S. election.
In a tweet and report released on Tuesday, Avenatti said a company controlled by an oligarch with ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, Viktor Vekselberg, sent the payment to Cohen.
Avenatti's tweets came after CNN reported that special counsel Robert Mueller's team had questioned Vekselberg about payments to Cohen as part of its probe into Russia's interference with the 2016 presidential race, though the news channel did not cite a specific number.
Cohen on Wednesday rebuffed the assertion that the oligarch funneled $500,000 into an account later used as hush money.
"His document is inaccurate," Cohen said in a brief statement captured by NBC News in Manhattan.
Cohen is currently under investigation by the FBI, whose agents last month raided his home and office and carted away his files. Agents were armed with search warrants based in part on information obtained from Mueller's investigators.
The Wall Street Journal reported that federal prosecutors and the FBI were examining whether Cohen "committed bank fraud by making false statements inflating the value of his assets to obtain loans or by misstating the intended purpose of the loans."
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