Inside Cohen's pitch promising access to Trump

Meanwhile, a wire transfer from a Kenyan bank from one Netanel Cohen went to Netanel's brother Michael Cohen of Israel, Cohen's attorneys say.

The lawyers wrote that some of the information Avenatti published Tuesday did appear to come from Cohen's actual bank records.

The public is just now learning about AT&T's payments to President Trump's personal lawyer Michael Cohen.

Lawyers for Michael Cohen on Wednesday accused an attorney for adult-film star Stormy Daniels of distributing false information about their client and asked a federal judge to deny his request to participate in a litigation in NY about a federal criminal investigation involving President Donald Trump's longtime attorney.

The companies' arrangements with Michael Cohen show how corporate executives reached outside usual channels to establish ties to a new administration that seemed to play with a new set of rules.

"Novartis was contacted in November 2017 by lawyers from the Special Counsel's office regarding the company's agreement with Essential Consultants".

The report also claimed Novartis paid Cohen's company almost $400,000.

Under federal law, financial institutions must monitor their customers' activities and report suspicious transactions to the government. "Novartis cooperated fully with the Special Counsel's office and provided all the information requested", the company's statement read.

AT&T additionally stated it was contacted final yr by Mueller's workplace "relating to Michael Cohen". "A few weeks later, our consulting contract with Cohen expired at the end of the year".

Included as an exhibit with the letter is an email from Michael Cohen the Canadian to Avenatti noting "surely you are aware of the fact that [Michael Cohen] is an extremely common name and would request that you take care before involving innocent parties in this sordid affair".

Swiss drugmaker Novartis and USA telecommunications giant AT&T on Wednesday said they made payments to Cohen's firm, Essential Consultants, in efforts to gain intelligence into the Trump administration's thinking on issues affecting them.

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"We are conducting an inquiry into possible improper dissemination of Bank Secrecy Act information", said Rich Delmar, a spokesman for the Treasury's inspector general, adding that the review is "predicated on information that was in The New York Times article earlier this week".

In a letter to U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood, who is overseeing proceedings in a federal criminal investigation of Cohen, attorneys Stephen Ryan and Todd Harrison accused Avenatti of publishing "numerous incorrect statements to the public in an apparent attempt to prejudice and discredit Mr. Cohen". But that information is supposed to remain confidential.

The Treasury Department's inspector general, Eric Thorson, announced Wednesday he was launching a probe examining how the banking records became public.

The court filing from Cohen's lawyers disputes another allegation from Avenatti's report: that a Russian oligarch and his cousin made eight payments to Cohen through the company Columbus Nova.

Her lawyer, Michael Avenatti, alleged $4 million was poured into Essential's coffers from several major corporations.

Henry Su, a former attorney for the Federal Trade Commission and now a partner at Constantine Cannon in Washington, said it was unusual for a company to approach someone closely linked to an incoming administration so quickly and directly.

Vekselberg was placed under United States sanctions in April and has been questioned by Mueller's team investigating Russian meddling in the United States presidential election.

A lawyer for Columbus Nova has said Vekselberg had nothing to do with the transaction Avenatti said amounted to $500,000. More recently, he has expanded his assets to include industrial equipment and high technology.

AT&T admitted Tuesday to giving the president's longtime personal attorney cash for "insights into understanding" the Trump administration. The company has said the Russian oligarch Vekselberg never "had any contractual relationship" with Cohen.

AP Writers Jill Colvin and Richard Lardner contributed from Washington, Jake Pearson and Bernard Condon contributed from NY.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)

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